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Catfish with Black-Eyed Pea Vinaigrette

Catfish with Black-Eyed Pea Vinaigrette

Sustainable Seafood Recipe

"As a Southerner, I always use ingredients that are true to this area of the country but with a little bit of a twist," says Regina Charboneau. "The combination of the catfish with smoked tomatoes, black-eyed peas and vinegar all works really well together." It's also versatile; the fish is delicious alone or with one or both sauces. Make the tomato sauce on the weekend and you'll have a quick and delicious weeknight meal.

U.S. farm-raised catfish has a mild flavor and firm texture. It's farmed in an ecologically responsible manner and is on the Seafood Watch green "Best Choice" list.

  • (Serves 4)
  • 2 pounds catfish filets
  • 1 tablespoon flour
  • 1/2 teaspoon salt
  • 1/4 teaspoon granulated garlic powder
  • 1/8 teaspoon cayenne pepper
  • 1/8 teaspoon cracked black pepper
  • 1/8 teaspoon fennel seeds
  • 1/2 teaspoon paprika
  • 2 1/2 tablespoons olive oil
  • 2 cups smoked tomato coulis
    (recipe below)
  • 2 cups black-eyed pea vinaigrette
    (recipe below)

Note: Prepare the tomato sauce and black-eyed pea vinaigrette in advance if you plan to use them.

Cut the catfish into four portions.

Mix the flour, salt, garlic, cayenne, black pepper, fennel and paprika. Sprinkle this mixture evenly over the filets.

Place a cast iron skillet over medium heat and let it get hot before adding 2 tablespoons of oil. Add the filets and cook for 4-5 minutes on the first side until the fish has a good rich color. Turn the fish over and cook 3-4 more minutes. Allow plenty of room in the pan for each piece of fish, cooking in batches if necessary.

Serve as is, or spoon warm tomato sauce on a plate, place the catfish on top and cover with the black-eyed pea vinaigrette.

Smoked Tomato Coulis
  • (Serves 4)
  • 2 tablespoons olive oil
  • 1 medium onion, cut into eight pieces
  • 3 medium carrots, cut into four pieces each
  • 3 cups canned, diced tomatoes in juice
  • 5 cloves garlic
  • 1 dozen oven-smoked Roma tomatoes (recipe below)
  • 2 tablespoons pickled jalapeno
  • 8 fresh basil leaves
  • 2 bay leaves

Smoked Tomato Coulis Directions

Note: This recipe makes two quarts. It freezes well and is great to have on hand to enhance other dishes.

Place a large pot over medium heat and let it get hot before adding the olive oil, onion and carrots. Sauté for 5 minutes.

Add the tomatoes, jalapenos, basil, garlic and bay leaves. Cook over medium heat for 35-40 minutes.

Remove the bay leaves and pour mixture into a food processor.
Pulse into a course puree (not soupy).

Oven-Smoked Tomatoes
  • (Serves 4)
  • 1 dozen Roma tomatoes (or other plum tomato variety)
  • 1/2 cup olive oil
  • 3 tablespoons hickory liquid smoke
  • 1 tablespoons sea salt
  • 1 tablespoon cracked black pepper
Oven-Smoked Tomatoes Directions
Cut tomatoes into quarters and lay on a baking sheet with sides.

Mix the olive oil with the hickory liquid smoke and drizzle over the cut tomatoes. Sprinkle with salt and pepper and bake at 300ºF for 45 minutes.

  • (Serves 4)
  • 2 shallots
  • 1/3 cup cider vinegar
  • 2/3 cup light salad oil
  • 2 teaspoon brown sugar
  • 1/2 cup thinly sliced green onion
  • 2 cups canned black-eyed peas
Black-eyed Pea Vinaigrette Directions
Rinse the peas and chill.

Puree the shallots in a blender or food processor. Add the cider vinegar, brown sugar and salt. Blend and slowly add oil to emulsify.

Combine the peas, green onions and vinaigrette in a bowl. Chill and use to top the hot catfish right before serving.
Regina Charboneau
Regina Charboneau is the owner of Twin Oaks Bed & Breakfast in Natchez, Mississippi. She is the author of two cookbooks: A Collection of Seasonal Menus & Recipes from Regina's Kitchen and Regina's Table at Twin Oaks.

Best Choice Catfish

U.S. Farmed Catfish

Raised in closed, inland ponds using recirculated fresh water and fed a mostly vegetarian diet of soybeans, corn and rice, U.S. farmed catfish is considered to be one of the most sustainable fish species available.
iPhone Our app brings you up-to-date recommendations for ocean-friendly seafood and sushi. And the newest version, with Project FishMap, lets you share the locations of restaurants and markets where you've found sustainable seafood. As the map grows, you'll also be able to see what others have found near you.

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