“Fried” Catfish BLTs

fried_catfish_bltMakes 4 Servings
Hands-On Time: 30 Minutes
Total Preparation Time: 30 Minutes

Suggested Accompaniments
Vegetable chips

8 slices bacon (about 7 oz)
2 plum tomatoes
Kosher salt
¾ c mayonnaise
¼ c fresh basil leaves
½ teaspoon freshly grated lemon zest
Freshly ground black pepper
4 slices firm white bread
¼ c Wondra or unbleached all-purpose flour
1 large egg
Four 4 oz catfish fillets
¼ c extra virgin olive oil
8 slices rustic bread
4 large romaine lettuce leaves

1. Preheat the oven to 400°F. Arrange the bacon on a rack on a rimmed baking sheet and bake for 12 to 15 minutes or until crisp. Drain on paper towels.

2. Meanwhile, slice the tomatoes 1/3 inch thick. Lightly salt them on both sides and set them aside for 10 minutes; pat them dry. Combine the mayonnaise, basil, lemon zest, 1/4 teaspoon salt, and 1/8 teaspoon pepper in a blender and puree. Pulse the bread in a blender or food processor to make 2 cups fresh bread crumbs.

3. Spread out the flour and bread crumbs in separate pie plates lined with wax paper or parchment; beat the egg in a bowl. Season the catfish fillets with salt and pepper to taste; working with 1 fillet at a
time, toss them in the flour, lifting the wax paper on both sides to move them around; shake off the excess flour. Dip them into the egg, letting the excess drip off, and finally into the crumbs, shaking off
any excess.

4. Heat 2 tablespoons olive oil in a large nonstick skillet over medium heat until hot. Sauté the catfish for about 5 minutes per side or until golden and just cooked through. Add the remaining 2 tablespoons
olive oil when you turn the pieces.

5. Toast the bread. Place 4 slices on serving plates and spread the top sides with some of the mayonnaise mixture; top each with lettuce, bacon, tomatoes and a catfish fillet. Spread one side of the remaining toast slices with the mayonnaise mixture and place them, mayo side down, on the sandwiches. Cut each sandwich in half and serve.

Cook’s Notes
I am a fan of mayonnaise and low fat mayonnaise (not no fat, no fat = no flavor) is fine with me. I like the lighter texture. My favorite mayonnaise brand happens to be Hellmann’s but whatever brand is your favorite check out their low fat version. Why not save a few calories? Sometimes I add a little fresh lemon juice to balance the sugar that you find in most commercial mayonnaise.

A fish spatula is the right tool for flipping fish in a skillet but I use it to turn almost everything that I am sautéing. Why? Since it is flexible you can make it slide easily under a delicate fish fillet, potato pancake or crepe without damaging the food. You can find fish spatulas at most kitchenware shops but make sure that not only are they slotted, they are also flexible (meaning that you can press the metal part down on a counter and it will bend a bit). By the way, most flexible fish spatulas are made for righthanded people (it’s not fair!!) but some stores also carry the left handed version or you can special order it. I have learned to make do with the righthanded version.

The best new citrus microplane ever is made by edgeware. It is light with sharp fine teeth and grabs just the zest very quickly. Also, it comes with a little slide in container underneath to catch the zest as you grate. V-etched Better Zester! Green

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2 Responses to “Fried” Catfish BLTs

  1. Scot F says:

    Chefs come and go on TV, but I have loved you for so long. Just saw you on PBS for the first time in a long while and just wanted to tell you how awesome you are. Best wishes.

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