I have a love hate relationship with catfish. I love to catch catfish, they are one of the best fighters out there and can really give you a work out if you get into a good sized fish. I love to eat good catfish, the only problem is, and this is the part I hate. I can never figure out what makes catfish good or bad. I don't buy catfish and the catfish I catch can be firm and sweet and delicious. It can also taste like an aquarium water filter. Its kind of a bizarre game of Russian roulette and all you have to do is take that first bite.
My Uncle lives down in Iowa On the Mississippi river and has fished catfish all his life. Every time I have had catfish he catches and cooks they are delicious. I am not sure if he just knows how to catch the good tasting ones or if I am eternally cursed to continue playing the game of roulette. I have experimented with a number of different cooking methods and found that the only recipe that seems to work every time is my catfish boudin recipe. The boudin recipe has a certain amount of heat and spice to it that seem to work really well. So I thought I would try a couple of other recipes that involce a little heat. The first recipe I got from Alton Brown and is for Catfish Ceviche. For the most part I followed the recipe, but I did add a little extra cumin and a bunch of chipotle powder to give it some extra heat. It was one of the best ceviche's I have ever eaten and is one of my new go to recipes for catfish. It is a raw preparation so if you are going to make it I wold suggest freezing your catfish for at least a month before making it.
The second recipe is a fried catfish with a red curry. This is hands down my new favorite catfish recipe. I borrowed a few different elements from other recipes for this. The first and most important is the batter I used to fry the catfish. I mixed 2 egg yolks with a quarter cup of corn starch and 2 tablespoons a piece of fish sauce and soy sauce. After you mix those ingredients together you place your catfish fillet in the batter and let is sit for 30 minutes to an hour. Then fry it in hot canola oil for 5 minutes per side. Not only does the batter add a great flavor to the fish but it ends up very light and crisp. then all you have to do is top it with the curry and serve with rice or noodles. If you enjoy spicy food I highly recommend you give it a try.
1/4 cup coconut oil
2-3 tablespoons of red curry paste ( depending on how spicy you like it)
1 15.5 ounce can of coconut milk
1/4 cup palm sugar
2 tablespoons soy sauce
2 tablespoons fish sauce
salt to taste
Heat the coconut oil and then add the curry paste. Stir and fry the paste for 2-3 minutes until fragrant, then add the palm sugar, soy sauce and fish sauce and stir to combine. Add the coconut milk and simmer for 15 minutes, longer if you want a thicker sauce. Pour the sauce over the fried fillet and enjoy.