For me, this is a simple recipe with high satisfaction. I know catfish isn’t the trendiest fish, but it’s a reliable staple in my part of the world. It also makes my wallet happy because it’s a good fish dinner for fraction of the cost at a restaurant. If you can get fresh catfish, it’s definitely preferable to previously frozen.
1 fresh or thawed catfish fillet (medium size – around 4 to 6 oz)
20 shakes of Tabasco hot sauce
1 cup cornmeal (more if desired)
Cooking spray or neutral oil (I use avocado
1. Place catfish fillet in plastic bag and coat generously with Tabasco. Massage fish in bag to thoroughly distribute hot sauce. Marinate in refrigerator at least 3 hours or overnight
2. Preheat oven to 425 degrees. Cover a baking sheet with aluminum foil. Coat foil with cooking spray or neutral oil to keep fish from sticking.
3. Dredge catfish in cornmeal. Really cover the fillet – front and back. Get the cornmeal in the cracks and crevices. (I always add a little extra cornmeal to the top and edges to form a “crust.”)
4. Transfer to baking sheet. Bake at 425 for 10 minutes (or until fish flakes with a fork). Remove fish from oven to rest and turn on broiler. Broil the fish for 3-4 minutes until the top is lightly browned.
Serve with tartar sauce, red sauce, squeeze of lemon – diner’s choice. Even though the fish has marinated in hot sauce, it’s more flavorful than spicy (unless maybe your threshold for spicy food is low).
When I coat the fish, I make a shallow rimmed “bowl” out of tinfoil by folding the edges up to contain the cornmeal. Once I’ve thoroughly dredged and coated the fish, I crumple up the foil with the leftover cornmeal and toss it. Super-easy clean-up! Same goes with the pan.
I have doubled the recipe, and it works (although I didn’t actually double the Tabasco – a little goes a long way there). Any more than two fillets, and cooking times may need to be increased.