I’ve been grilling Catfish for nearly 20 years, and nearly always blackened. I like it because the farm-raised variety is readily available, relatively inexpensive ($5-$6 per pound in filets), and has a pleasant ,mild taste, unlike it’s “gamier” tasting cousin, the wild-caught Channel Cat which can be quite strong. Although at 50% fat with some cholesterol, farm raised Catfish isn’t quite as healthy as tuna or salmon, it absorbs spices and flavors beautifully and makes a great meal on occasion.
This recipe is original. I’ve called it Catfish Sante Fe because it combines several aromas, flavors, and spices, and in my opinion the Southwest chefs in Sante Fe are the best combiners on the planet. This recipe uses our BBQ4Dummies Mango Salsa, and can be plated with JR’s Smoked Rice and Gloria’s One of Everything Salad. Doing so adds a few good calories and brings down the fat percentage. If you have those all made up, putting this beautiful and tasty dish out is a snap. This recipe serves 4.
4 fresh Catfish filets
2 fresh limes
Oregon Marionberry preserves
Quarter one lime, and squeeze over both sides of each filet, covering completely. Sprinkle some fresh chili powder on each side, covering the area area about 50%. That’s somewhere between sparingly and generously. Carefully place the filets in a non-reactive container or Ziplock bag, and refrigerate for four hours.
Be sure to use preserves, not jam. You may be able to find sugar-free preserves as well, but avoid anything that adds corn syrup. Take two tablespoons and place in a small saucepan. Add the same amount of water, and wisk. Heat slowly, wisking until you have a liquid about the consistency of syrup, but not to boiling. Put this aside at room temp until ready to use.
Grilling the Catfish
Heat a charcoal or gas grill to 400 deg. When ready, warm the glaze up in a saucepan or microwave on low power. Brush some olive oil on the grates to prevent the fish from sticking. Quarter the second lime. Place the filets on the grill, and give the filets a final coating of fresh lime juice. Grill until the entire filet is opaque throughout; it should be a rotation of about 4-4-4-4, meaning 4 minutes, then rotate 90 degrees for another 4 minutes, flip the filets to the other side for 4 minutes and once again coat the exposed side with lime, rotate 90 degrees and finish the last four minutes.
Place the filets on their plates. Now, carefully spoon 1 tablespoon of the warm Marionberry glaze onto each filet, covering thoroughly. Do not use more than one tablespoon per filet. When done, then add one heaping tablespoon of the Mango Salsa, heaped in the middle of each filet.
Add the sides and serve! Using the smoked rice and Gloria’s salad on the plate, you will create artwork with explosive summer colors. The taste will first be the glaze and mango salad, then the chili-lime heat will be felt slightly in your throat.
Pair with a Pinot Gris for a Northwest taste, or a Riesling for a slightly drier, California touch.