Wednesday, July 22, 2009

Catfish Lettuce Wraps

By Paul Briand

I had the pleasure of preparing this meal with the help of my son David, who was just back from a two-month, 13,000 mile cross country road trip.

He can hold his own in the kitchen. Often during his college years and even during the road trip, he was the de facto cook, and he takes a lot of pleasure in it.

We tackled a Catfish Lettuce Wrap recipe that I found in the grocery store.

My wife and stepdaughter were a bit wary of the catfish. Knowing what a catfish looks like doesn't exactly instill a lot of confidence in the taste if you've never had it before. So David and I followed a suggestion in the recipe and soaked the fillets for about an hour in 2 cups of water with 1 1/2 teaspoons of kosher salt to remove some of the so-called "natural, earthy" flavor from the fish.

Also, rather than keep the vegetable and bean ingredients separate, as given in the recipe, David made a slaw/salsa out of all of it, which was great both as a topping for the fish and as a separate side dish.

4 catfish fillets, about 6 ounces each
1/4 cup fresh lime juice
1 head iceberg lettuce or two heads Bibb lettuce (I had to substitute with Romaine lettuce)
2 cups cherry tomatoes, diced
1 can black beans, rinsed and dried
1 cup purple cabbage mix
1 ripe avocado, pitted, peeled and diced
2 limes, juiced
Salsa and sour cream, option
Red pepper flakes to taste
Cilantro to taste

1. Season the dried fillets with pepper, salt (always optional) and red pepper flakes (again optional);
2. Cook to flakiness on a grill or large frying pan coated with olive oil, spritz with lime;
3. In the meantime, combine the tomatoes, black beans, cabbage mix and avocado into mixing bowl and give a big stir, adding lime juice and cilantro, creating a hefty slaw;
4. Prepare lettuce by cleaning and drying six leaves;
5. Once the fish is done, transfer to a platter and break apart into chunks;
6. Put lettuce leaves on large platter, and fill each leaf with chunks of catfish, then add a heaping serving of the slaw mixture. Option, top with sour cream and/or salsa and serve.

There was enough going on in the mouth with all these flavors that even with some of the earthiness left in the catfish it was neither powerful enough to dominate nor was it overwhelmed by the toppings.
Digg this

No comments: