Saturday, March 26, 2011

Cornflake-Crusted Pan-Fried Catfish with Hot Pepper Cilantro Aioli

Mike mentioned that we hadn't had fish in awhile, so I put it on the menu for the week.  He specifically mentioned that he did not want salmon this time, so I looked around in my Cooking Light, Everyday cookbook and found a recipe for Fried Halibut.  It looked really good and it had a picture so, that always draws me in (I'm like a little kid).  We put all the ingredients that we needed on our grocery list and headed to Wegman's.  We had all the ingredients for the fish dish except for the fish.  When we went to the fish counter they didn't have halibut...ruh-roh.  I asked the guy if they had any and he said it was out of season.  WHAT?!  They have every other fish, sea creature and mollusk from around the world and they don't have the ONE fish I need?!  Quick, game time decision, what fish should I get?  Thinking about the recipe, I instantly thought of catfish.  The weird thing about that is that I had never had catfish and I definitely have never cooked it before.  But, we bought it and took the gamble.  The whole point to this rambling, you can us catfish or halibut for this recipe.

What you need:

  • 1 c milk (I use fat-free)
  • 1 lg egg
  • 2 c crushed corn flakes (you can buy already ground cornflakes in the store)
  • 1/4 c flour
  • 1/2 tsp salt
  • 1/4 tsp pepper
  • 1/2 tsp paprika 
  • olive oil
  • 2-4 catfish fillets or halibut
  • 2 tbs fresh cilantro or 1 tbs dried cilantro
  • 3 lbs mayo (I used reduce fat)
  • 1 serrano chile
  • 1 clove of garlic

 The aioli is super simple.  First, seed and cut the Serrano pepper.  If you like more heat leave in some or all of the seeds.  If you don't like heat, you could use a more mild pepper like a jalapeno and take out all the seeds.   I seeded half of the Serrano pepper and left the seeds in the other half.

Place into a small bowl (or tea cup like I use :) ) and add the garlic...

Cilantro (if you are using fresh, mince first)...

the mayo...

and lemon juice.  Stir until well blended.  Cover and stick in the fridge while you prepare the fish.

Now for the fish.  In a medium size bowl add the cornflakes...


Salt, pepper and paprika

 Mix all of the ingredients until well blended.  In a separate bowl mix the milk and egg together to create the egg wash.

Whisk until the egg is completely incorporated.  I just use a fork to whisk..nothing fancy.

Catfish fillets are really long, to make it easier to work with I cut the two fillets in half.  Salt and pepper the fish.

First, dip the fish into the egg wash.  Then place in the bread crumbs and cover the fish completely.  Pat the bread crumbs in then gently shake off the stubborn ones that don't want to stick.  Repeat with the rest of the fillets.

Coat a non-stick frying pan with a thin layer of olive oil (about 2 tbs).  Heat the oil over medium-high heat. 

Be sure the pan is nice and hot before you add the fish.  Try to get some oil directly under each fillet.

Cook for about 4-5 minutes or until it is browned and crispy, then flip.

Cook another 4-5 minutes until the fish is done.  Use a fork to check to see if the fish flakes easily, when it does, it is done!

I placed a little bit of the aioli on top of each fillet and brought the remaining aioli to the table.  The aioli really makes the fish delicious!  I think that with out it, it would be lack luster.  It is like a really fancy, super yummy tartar sauce for the fish!  The aioli wasn't the only great thing about the dish, the crunch on the fish is really good and apparently, I like catfish!!  It is a very mild fish and went really well with this recipe.  My knucklehead really liked it too!  I'll definitely make this again and maybe next time they will have halibut at the fish counter! Even though, it would be hard to pass up the price of the catfish; it was the least expensive fish in the entire case.  It was only $6.99 a lbs.  That will make your wallet smile :)

* According to Cooking Light one portion of this has 367 calories, 11g of fat and 40g of protein.  Granted, that is if it is prepared with halibut.  Also, I probably took double the amount of aioli that is supposed to be a serving because I liked it so much!

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