Sunday, March 28, 2010

Grace's fried catfish with shrimp sauce

Okay, yes, I am still allergic to shellfish (which means I did not get to sample this lovely sauce). And, well, to be completely honest, I had very little to do with cooking this meal. I think, at one point, I was supposed to slice a lemon for the fish, but having been distracted by either a small boy or a small dog or a very delicious pomegranate martini, I never quite got around to it.

As a bit of background, we've fallen into a lovely routine on Friday nights—dinner with dear friends that very often finds us with three generations sitting around the dining room table. As we recently figured out, this little tradition that we started over the long snowy winter will soon fall prey to Friday night sports as the boys head back out to the field for little league and softball and soccer games. I cannot tell you how sad this makes me. Yes, I will miss the food (remember the chicken francaise?), but more importantly I will miss the conversation and the laughter, the easiness and the warmth of our evenings together.

This is what you need to get started:

Catfish filets
Two eggs, beaten and seasoned with cayenne pepper and salt to taste
Bread crumbs
Oil and butter for frying the fish

You can prepare the fish ahead of time, dipping each filet into the seasoned egg mixture and then coating with bread crumbs. Set the fish aside for frying after the sauce is prepared.

For the sauce, you will need:

1 pound of large shrimp—peeled, cleaned and sliced in half (season with salt and pepper)
8 tablespoons of butter, divided in half
1 small onion, chopped
3 cloves of garlic, chopped
1/2 cup of good white wine
3 tablespoons of flour
2 cups of chicken broth
1/4 teaspoon of red pepper
@ 6 drops of Tabasco sauce
Salt to taste

Saute the shrimp in the butter until it is just pink. Remove the shrimp and the liquid from the pan and set aside.

In the same pan, saute the onion and garlic in the other half of the butter. When the onion is translucent, add the wine and bring to a boil.

Whisk in the flour, and then gradually add the chicken broth, continuing to whisk to a sauce-like consistency. Add the red pepper, hot sauce and salt.

Return the shrimp and its liquid to the pan and heat until just warm.

Once the sauce is made, fry the catfish and arrange it on a platter.

To serve, you can either pour the sauce over the fish, or take each to the table separately, allowing everyone to serve themselves.

We served this with jambalaya rice (straight out of a box) and a green vegetable. And though I had to forgo the shrimp sauce, there were plenty of ohhs and ahhs around the table, all of which tells me that the sauce was a winner.

One of the nice things about this meal is that everything can be prepared in advance, leaving the fish to be fried right before serving. You can even make the sauce hours ahead of time, gently reheating it, if necessary. The rice was a nice compliment to the fish, but you can also serve the sauce over pasta, adding a can of diced tomatoes with jalapeno peppers to give it more depth. It's a fairly spicy meal, but I don't think it would suffer from less heat if that is your preference.

Want to see what we had for dessert?

I can't give you the recipe because we simply opened the box and followed directions for baking and frosting the cake, but if you like chocolate, you'll want to know about this:


  1. Forget the fish and shrimp (we allergic gals need to stick together!)...bring on that incredibly decadent looking cake! NOM!

  2. That fish & shrimp looks wonderful! (and some of us aren't allergic! LOL!)