Frank's Lenten broiled catfish

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Posted on March 1, 2012 at 4:50 PM

8 catfish filets
2/3 cup extra virgin olive oil
2 Tbsp. onion powder
2 Tbsp. garlic powder
1 Tbsp. kosher salt
3 Tbsp. lemon pepper
2 Tbsp. paprika
1/2 cup Chardonnay or Chablis white wine
1/3 cup thinly sliced green onions
1/3 cup minced parsley
1/3 cup butter
1 Tbsp. gravy flour
2-4 Tbsp. Frangelica

The basis for this entire recipe is “perfectly broiled fish filets.”  So the first thing you want to do is to set your oven to “broil” and arrange the top oven rack so that it rests about 4 inches from the heating element, whether it be electricity or gas.

While the oven is preheating, take the catfish filets, lay them out on a piece of waxed paper on the countertop, and pat them dry on both sides with a couple of high-absorbency paper towels.  Then with a pastry brush, lightly brush on the olive oil so that it completely coats each filet—this is the base to which the seasonings will adhere. 

Next, lightly but evenly sprinkle each filet with onion powder, garlic powder, steak salt, lemon pepper, and paprika.  When all the seasonings are on, take your hand and rub them into the filets.  When all the filets are done, turn them over and repeat the entire process on the other side.
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At this stage, the filets are ready to be placed in the broiling pan.  But before they are. . .

*                     First spray each pan with a light coating of Pam or Vegelene. 

*                     Then take a sharp knife and cut diamond-shaped diagonals in the top of each filet, slicing so that the depth of the cuts goes about halfway through (this allows the fish to broil quicker and more evenly).  

*                     Then carefully place all of the filets in the pan—but be sure that they don’t touch!

*                     Then liberally drizzle each filet with about a tablespoon of the white wine.

*                     And finally slide the pan under the broiler!

When the fish have cooked for about 6 to 8 minutes (or when they flake easily when tested with a fork), they’re done.   At this point, immediately pour off  into a sauté skillet the pan drippings from the filets (but go ahead and cover the filets with a sheet of aluminum foil, reduce the oven temperature to low, and temporarily slide them back into the oven to keep them warm). 

Then, over medium heat on top of the stove, bring the drippings to a gentle boil and whisk in the butter.  When it completely melts, stir in the parsley, the green onions, the gravy flour, and the Frangelica liqueur.  Then—continually stirring—simmer the resultant sauce for about 3 or 4 minutes or until it turns silky smooth.

When you’re ready to serve the dish,  place a filet or two on a warm dinner plate and spoon a little of the Frangelica sauce over each filet.  I find that the recipe goes best with pan-roasted creamer potatoes, a cold Caesar salad, bread sticks, and a chilled glass of Chardonnay!

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Chef’s Notes:

1.       The quantity of seasonings in the ingredient list is only a guideline.  They’re going to be sprinkled on, so if you need more use more, and if you need less use less.

2.       Not only Frangelica but practically any liqueur you like —Amaretto, Triple Sec, Herbsaint—can be used in this recipe to create a gourmet topping sauce.  I suggest you stir in whatever liqueur you use a little at a time.  If you want a lighter flavor, use less; if you want a heavier taste, use more.  It’s always easy to add more.

|3.       Don’t over-broil the fish!  First it will toughen the filets, but more importantly it will evaporate the pan drippings and you won’t have a baseline for the sauce.

4.       If you need to extend the sauce, you can extra wine or chicken stock to the sauté pan.  But you shouldn’t have to do this if you broil the fish properly!

5.       To make this dish low-fat,  substitute “I Can’t Believe It’s Not Butter” spray for the olive oil at the beginning and substitute about half a can of fat free creamed soup (Cream of Shrimp, Cream of Mushroom, Cream of C) for the butter in the sauce.

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