Sunday, March 25, 2012

"Deviled" Catfish

My fiancee Kristin is a big fan of deviled eggs.  They're not really something I experienced much of, growing up, and it would be generous of me to say that I could take or leave them - I'm just still not much of an egg person.  I'm working on it, though.  It never even occurred to me that the flavors of the sauce on this fish are essentially the same as in deviled eggs - but it was the first thing that Kristin pointed out when I had her taste-test the sauce.  

The combination of the deviled-egg-flavored sauce with panko breadcrumbs makes this a baked fish dish that manages to both stay moist and feature a satisfying crunchy element without frying.  Since I like this fish so much, maybe I owe it to deviled eggs to give them a second chance.

More or less any whitefish can shine in this recipe.  I used catfish this time, and have used tilapia and cod to similarly good effect.  The rest of the ingredients are largely pantry staples: panko breadcrumbs, mayonnaise, dijon mustard, paprika, parsley, thyme, salt, and pepper.

First, we'll make the sauce that tops the fish.  Combine equal parts dijon mustard and mayonnaise in a small bowl, then mix in the seasonings: a generous quantity of paprika, thyme, parsley, salt, and pepper.  Stir it up well, give it a taste, and add more of whatever strikes your fancy.  You can spice the mustard-mayo base in any number of ways, so don't hesitate to experiment.

Pour some panko onto a plate or other convenient flat surface.  Season the breadcrumbs with plenty of salt and pepper and a sprinkle of whatever else you added to the sauce.  Now you're ready to coat the fish.

Egg wash?  Where we're going, we don't need egg wash.

Coat the top of your fish generously with the "devilish" sauce - breadcrumbs will be more than happy to stick to it.

Press the fish, sauce-side down, onto the plate of seasoned panko, then place the coated filets in a greased baking dish.

Bake at 400 degrees 8-12 minutes until the fish is fork-tender.  Cook-times here will vary quite a bit depending on the thickness of your particular fish, so check early and check often.  My catfish took more like 12 minutes this time around.

Serve hot with fresh vegetables.

Recipe: "Deviled" Catfish
Prep Time: 10 Minutes | Cook Time: 12 Minutes | Difficulty: Easy | Servings: 4

  • 4 catfish (or other whitefish) filets
  • 1 cup Panko Breadcrumbs
  • 1/3 cup Dijon Mustard
  • 1/3 cup Mayonnaise
  • 1 tbsp Smoked Paprika
  • 1 tsp Ground Thyme
  • 2 tsp Parsley
  • Salt and Pepper to taste
  1. Combine mustard, mayonnaise, paprika, thyme, parsley, salt, and pepper in a small bowl.  Stir well to combine.
  2. Place breadcrumbs on a plate and season with salt, pepper, paprika, and thyme.
  3. Cover tops of fish filets generously with sauce mixture.
  4. Press sauced-side of filets into breadcrumbs to coat.
  5. Bake coated filets in a greased baking dish 8-12 minutes (by thickness) at 400 degrees until fish flakes easily.
  6. Serve hot.

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