By Cat, March 2017 (Photo, right, from American Feast (1))
I usually fry my catfish in a little bit of coconut milk or lard on stovetop, but frying has disadvantages because of the Maillard reaction, a chemical reaction between amino acids and reducing sugars that gives browned food its distinctive flavor. It produces advanced glycation end products (AGEs) that have been implicated in degenerative eye disease and possibly other degenerative disease. So I’ve decided to give baked catfish a try, using the same seasoning I use for fried catfish: salt with black and cayenne pepper, or a Cajun/Creole mix with herbs.
Note that catfish, as a scavenging animal, is not considered catfish and may be contaminated with toxins including heavy metals such as mercury, so should not be eaten frequently. See my article: Sustainable and Healthful Seafood (About) for more.
This recipe is adapted from my fried catfish recipe and from Lana’s Cooking blog (2). I use my Cajun/Creole Herb & Spice Blend, which is similar to Lana’s mix; or just simply a 50-50 blend of cayenne and black pepper with a bit of thyme to season the fish.
This recipe uses just one fillet, but you can easily multiply the amount of seasoning for additional fillets.
Ingredients & Equipment
- 1 whole catfish fillet
- lard or coconut oil (for greasing pan)
- 1-2 tsp minced fresh parsley
- 2 – 3 tsp Cajun/Creole spice blend, or 50-50 mix of black pepper and cayenne
- about 1 Tbsp Organic or non-GMO cornmeal (optional)
- Juice of ¼ lemon
- 1 Tbsp melted real butter
- 1 small garlic clove, minced and pressed (with the salt) using the side of a knife blade, or ¼ tsp garlic powder
- ¼ tsp unrefined sea salt
- 1 -2 small bowls
- baking pan sized for your fillet(s)
- Preheat oven to 350°F.
- Grease baking pan with coconut oil or lard.
- Combine parsley with herb/spice mix in a small bowl.
- Sprinkle optional cornmeal over fillets, then sprinkle with the parsley mix; turn over and repeat on other side. Transfer fillet(s) to greased baking pan.
- Mince garlic, sprinkle with salt and press with side of knife blade until garlic liquifies (or use garlic powder and salt), then mix with melted butter, lemon juice and garlic powder in the small bowl. Mix well to combine, then drizzle over the fillet(s).
- Bake uncovered for 15-20 minutes or until the fish flakes easily.
- Serve with lemon wedges (for their juice).
- photo: blog.americanfeast.com/2008/11/controversial_decision_on_orga.html
- Lana’s Cooking recipe: lanascooking.com/baked-catfish