Tuesday, March 16, 2010

I like catfish...who knew? :)

Growing up in the U.K. I never sampled catfish. I never ate much fish at all besides battered and deep fried Plaice from the the local fish and chip shop. Catfish kinda scared me, it looks like it hangs around sewage pipes waiting to eat whatever flushes into the stream.

Well as part of my desire to eat healthy I tried some grilled catfish at a local restaurant and loved it. Since then I've started fixing catfish myself. Here's one healthy way that I fix it.

Crisp-Crusted Catfish

2 tablespoons light ranch dressing
2 large egg whites
6 tablespoons yellow cornmeal
1/4 cup grated fresh Parmesan cheese
2 tablespoons all purpose flour
1/4 teaspoon red pepper flakes
1/8 teaspoon salt
4 (6oz) catfish fillets
Cooking spray
Lemon wedges

Combine the dressing and the egg whites together in a shallow bowl and stir well with a whisk. Combine the cornmeal, cheese, flour, pepper, and salt in a shallow dish. Dip the fish into the egg white mixture and then dredge in the cornmeal mixture.

Place the fish on a baking sheet coated with cooking spray; bake at 425F for 12 minutes and then turn the fish over and bake another 12 minutes or until lightly browned and the fish flakes easily when tested with a fork. Serve with fresh lemon squeezed over the top.

It's crunchy and delicious and about 313 calories per serving.

Now me being me I'm never satisfied to just let the recipe stand as is, although I did make it that way the first time. Here's some improvements I made.

1) Try putting red pepper flakes in the cornmeal mix for more kick.
2) Dredge the fish in flour first, shaking off the excess, and then the egg white and then the cornmeal. It makes the coating stick better.
3) Allow the fish to sit on a rack for at least 10 minutes after being coated. It makes the coating crisp up and adhere better to the fish.
4) Substitute Panko for the cornmeal. It raises the calorie count slightly, but the resultant crunch is incredible.

One other thing, the easiest way I've found to spray a cookie sheet without covering the kitchen in an oily sheen is to open the dishwasher door, lay the cookie sheet on that and spray there - of course you do need to remove any clean items that might be in the door first.

Now go out and buy some catfish :)

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