Cornmeal Catfish with Warm Potato Salad

Supper on the table in 30 minutes, without all the pots and pans and calories

Food TV icon Rachael Ray has a winning formula: 30-Minute Meals.

But when home cooks gripe about Rachael Ray, it’s because those very same quick meals load the body with calories and the sink with pots and pans. What’s the point of eating at home if you might as well hit the drive-through? What’s the point of cooking supper in 30 minutes if it takes another 30 to clean up?

This quick supper (might I add, this tasty supper?) is low in calories. It requires only a skillet and a spatula, a cutting board and a knife, plus a bowl for dredging.

Now that, home cooks, is truly a winning formula!

CAJUN SPICE MIX With a well-stocked spice pantry, it’s easy and inexpensive to blend homemade spice mixes. I fill empty spice jars with my own blends, then just add them to the collection. For Cajun flavors, combine a tablespoon each of paprika, cumin and kosher salt with a teaspoon each of garlic powder, black pepper, thyme and oregano.

ALANNA's TIPS The smaller the potato dice, the faster the potatoes cook. It’s easy knife work. Just slice a potato thin one direction. Then separate it into halves, cut sides down. Holding a half together, cut thin one direction, then the other. You’ve got it, a tiny dice! The red skins of new potatoes add nice color but the larger Yukon golds are handy. Stone-ground cornmeal works but makes for a more rustic crust. “Dredge” is kitchen code for coating a food in a dry mixture like cornmeal or flour before cooking. Bacon grease adds flavor but if you’re watching saturated fats, substitute vegetable oil.
Quick Suppers are Kitchen Parade favorites and feature recipes easy on the budget, the clock, the waistline and the dishwasher. Is catfish a regular catch on your table? Send a favorite quick fish recipe to e-mail.

QUICK SUPPER:
CORNMEAL CATFISH with
WARM POTATO SALAD

Hands-on time: 20 minutes
Time to table: 30 minutes
Serves 4
  • 1 cup water
  • 1 teaspoon bacon grease
  • 1 teaspoon kosher salt
  • 1 pound new or Yukon gold potatoes, skins on, diced very small (see ALANNA’s TIPS)
  • ½ pound fresh or frozen okra, cut in small bites (optional but tasty)
  • 1 small red onion, diced small
  • 1 clove garlic, minced
  • 2 tablespoons white wine vinegar
  • 1 cup frozen peas or bottled capers (omit if using okra)
  • Salt & pepper to taste

  • 1/3 cup yellow cornmeal (see TIPS)
  • 2 teaspoons Cajun Spice Mix (or use a commercial blend)
  • 1 tablespoon bacon grease
  • 1 pound catfish filets, in 4 pieces

Bring water, bacon grease and salt to a boil over medium high in a cast iron or heat-tolerant skillet. Add potatoes, okra, onion and garlic as prepped. Cook, stirring occasionally; add water if needed so not to stick. When potatoes are done and water is cooked off, stir in vinegar and peas til peas are warmed through. Season to taste. Transfer to bowl, keep warm.

While potatoes cook, combine cornmeal and spice mix in a flat bowl. Dredge (see TIPS) filets, covering completely. Add bacon grease to the skillet (just wipe it out a bit) and heat til shimmery, then add fish. Cook through, about 5 minutes per side. Transfer to serving plates with potato salad on the side.

NUTRITION ESTIMATE Per Serving: 333 Cal (36% from Fat); 13g Tot Fat; 4g Sat Fat; 32g Carb; 4g Fiber; 387 mg Sodium; 58mg Cholesterol; Weight Watchers 7 points

Kitchen Parade is written by second-generation food writer Alanna Kellogg and features fresh, seasonal dishes for every-day healthful eating and occasional indulgences.

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I appreciate the nutritional estimates...I have zip idea how my meals would average out
 
Thanks! Nutrition analysis isn't that hard to do. I use an inexpensive product called Accuchef. It relies on the USDA database but you can also input your own ingredients too. I'm religious about using it but I'll tell you, I STILL get surprised by some dishes, how many calories (and for me, Weight Watchers points) they have. It's also really helped open my eyes to carbs.

And I'll use it to play "what if" when developing recipes. What if I substituted half 'n' half for cream, what if I seared the meat in broth rather than fat, etc. If the flavor is not compromised, then great, let's be as healthful as we can. If the flavor is compromised, an indulgence is fine, so long as we know what we're doing!

OH MY: your simple thank you put Alanna on her soap box!
 
Hmmm. Bacon grease, salt, potatoes...not sure if this is exactly a healthy recipe. :s
 
Ahh--looks wonderful! I love catfish and ate it a lot growing up in the South. Thanks for the tip about Accuchef. That's great to know!
 
Alanna,
A Cajun spice mix without cayenne? I'm disappointed in you.{g}
 
Like bacon grease, a little cayenne never hurts ... < g >
 
I still have yet to try this, but it's on my list!
 
Accuchef is a great tip, Alanna. Thanks!

I love catfish and am always looking for new ways to cook it. Will try it out this week. I'll have to use veg oil as we rarely eat bacon.

Have I told you that I *love* your TIPS section? :-D
 
Jennifer ~ All the Gulf catfish? This is perfect for you!

Manisha ~ Have I told you that *blush* I love compliments?!
 
Alanna, this really looks great and certainly something to try out. I really love Catfish but never find recipes that call out "COOK ME!" but your's has "COOK ME AND EAT ME" all over it!
 
I love warm potato salad..we call it German Potato Salad at my house, and prepare the dressing separately, and wisk an egg and a little sugar into the pan. Then the warm dressing is poured on the just drained potatoes, chopped onion and bacon. It is especially good with fish.
 
Mary ~ Yes, indeed, this is much similar to German potato salad. In my experience, however, German potato salad is cooked longer and is more 'saucy'. And I must-must-must make it now, now that you've planted the idea in my head!
 
It all sounds good and I'd love to try it, but I'm seriously not a fan of catfish. Do you think some other types of fish would work instead? Probably not salmon, but maybe cod?
 
Hi Anonymous ~ Yes, cod would be excellent, so would any mild white-fleshed would work too. I like catfish on occasion because at least here in the Midwest, it's often quite inexpensive.
 

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Thank you for taking a moment to write! I read each and every comment, for each and every recipe. If you have a specific question, it's nearly always answered quick-quick. But I also love hearing your reactions, your curiosity, even your concerns! When you've made a recipe, I especially love to know how it turned out, what variations you made, what you'll do differently the next time. ~ Alanna