You caught it or shot it and now you want to cook it. Each month, William “Wild Bill” Powell, owner of Texas Select Seasonings in Santa Fe, shows us how to prepare fish and wild game.
Catfish is available at most seafood markets and grocery stores. I usually catch my own at our family fish camp on Lake Livingston. But I also cook swai fillets when my freezer is empty.
This month’s recipe features bold Southwest flavors of my Grilled Catfish a la Mexicana. The sauce can be made a day ahead and any leftovers can be used to smother a grilled, boneless pork chop or chicken breast, then add grated Monterey Jack cheese and melt under a broiler.
Grilled Catfish a la Mexicana
This entrée will take about 2.5 hours from preparation to plate, but is worth every ounce of effort. The heat level can range from mild to fiery hot, depending on how many fresh chilies and the variety used.
6 whole catfish fillets
29 ounces fire roasted tomatoes
1 cup chopped Spanish onion
1 tablespoon serrano pepper, seeded and chopped
12 fresh pequin chilies, crushed and chopped
6 cloves garlic, minced
½ cup chopped bell pepper
¼ cup chopped cilantro
8 ounces tomato sauce
14.5 ounces all-natural chicken broth
2 tablespoons fresh lime juice and pulp
1 tablespoon butter
1 tablespoon olive oil
5 tablespoons Texas Select Seasonings Southwestern Sizzler
4 tablespoons Texas Select Seasonings Coastal Seafood
Cracked black pepper and sea salt to taste
7 stuffed queen olives, sliced for garnish
1 jumbo avocado, sliced for garnish
Add butter and oil olive oil to a hot cast iron pot and sauté the onion, peppers and garlic on medium high heat until soft.
Next, add the lime juice, chicken stock, tomatoes and cilantro. Allow this mixture to cook at least 15 to 20 minutes on high while rendering down. Stir often with a wooden spoon to avoid sticking. Once the sauce begins to render, reduce heat to low and add the tomato sauce, 5 tablespoons of Southwestern Sizzler, cumin, cracked black pepper and sea salt to taste.
Cook another 15 to 20 minutes and reduce heat to lowest setting, stirring occasionally and adjust seasoning if desired.
Note: For a creamy version of this sauce, add 5 ounces of soft-melt white cheese once sauce has reduced and is on simmer.
While the sauce is on cruise control, brush the catfish fillets with either olive oil or melted butter, then season generously with Coastal Seafood. Bring an electric skillet up to 325 F. Melt a 50/50 blend of butter and olive oil to cover the skillet bottom, then cook the fillets 3 to 4 minutes on each side, depending on thickness.
Season the backside after the first turn. Use two spatulas to keep from breaking the fillets — catfish is a very soft, flaky fish. Keep cooked fillets on a hot plate in the oven, uncovered on warm until they’re ready to be topped with the sauce.
Note: If cooking on an outside grill, use shallow, disposable foil pans and follow the same cooking instructions.
Garnish the final entrée with sliced queen olives and serve with avocado seasoned with Texas Select Seasonings Chili Pequin, Garlic and Sea Salt blend.