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Catfish dish is fast, tasty

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Once the cook has made sure the catfish and the spinach are at hand, other ingredients for this dish are probably on the pantry shelf — and dinner can be ready in about 20 minutes.

Catfish Roasted with Sesame Seeds, Basil, Garlic and Spinach, however, will not taste as if it's been thrown together without finesse. The seasonings are a blend of piquant flavors in this recipe created by Elizabeth Terry, whose restaurant, Elizabeth on 37th, in Savannah, Ga., is highly rated. Terry won the 1995 James Beard Foundation Award as best chef in the Southeast.


(Preparation 10 minutes, cooking time 10 minutes)

Four 4- to 6-ounce catfish fillets, 1/2 inch thick

Half of a 10-ounce bag washed spinach, coarse stems removed, chopped

1/4 cup fresh basil or Italian parsley, minced

2 medium cloves garlic, minced

2 teaspoons brown mustard

1 tablespoon sesame oil (see note)

1 teaspoon olive oil

2 teaspoons lemon juice

1 tablespoon soy sauce

1/4 cup white or black sesame seeds

1/4 teaspoon cayenne pepper

Preheat oven to 450 F. Place catfish fillets on an oiled baking pan. Tuck a handful of spinach under each fillet. Fold under about 2 inches of the thin end of each fillet to enclose spinach at one end.

In a small bowl, whisk together basil or parsley, garlic, mustard, oils, lemon juice and soy sauce. Spread mixture over catfish. Sprinkle heavily with sesame seeds and lightly with cayenne pepper. Roast for 10 to 12 minutes, or until fish flakes easily when tested with a fork. Makes 4 servings.

Note: Sesame oil is available in the Asian food section of most supermarkets.

Nutrition information per serving: 287 cal., 17 g fat, 26 g pro., 6 g carbo., 4 g fiber, 67 mg chol., 396 mg sodium.

Recipe from the Catfish Institute.

On the Net: www.catfishinstitute.com