Once you’ve caught and kept a catfish, how should you cook it? This recipe comes courtesy of my friend Chris Begin, who’s a Red Seal chef, as well as an instructor at the Notre Dame College School in Welland, Ontario.
1/2 cup each of diced yellow, green and red peppers
1/2 cup diced red onion
1/2 cup diced English cucumber
1/2 cup diced fresh Roma tomatoes
2 tbsp extra-virgin olive oil
2 tbsp red wine vinegar
1 tbsp finely chopped garlic
2 tbsp chopped fresh Italian parsley
4 catfish fillets, 4 to 6 oz each
Salt and pepper to taste
1/2 cup cornmeal
4 slices mild pancetta
6 fresh basil leaves, sliced
Mix diced vegetables together in a bowl and add olive oil, red wine vinegar, garlic and parsley. Allow resulting salsa to pickle for one hour. Preheat oven to 450°F.
Season catfish fillets with salt and pepper, then dredge in cornmeal. Pan-fry fillets in oil and butter in cast iron pan until just browned, then finish cooking in the oven for 7 minutes.
Slice pancetta into thin strips (the width of a matchstick) and cook in a sauté pan or oven until just crisp. Allow to cool.
Place fish on bed of salsa, and garnish with pancetta and basil.