Pan Seared Cajun Catfish with a Cajun Cream Sauce and Pico de Gallo
This is one of my wife’s favorite recipes. She had a version of this at a local restaurant and absolutely loved it. I knew after I saw the dish and tasted it that it was something I could easily recreate and even expand on and keep some of that extra cash in my pocket, plus it even gives me easy brownie points!!!
If there is one thing you can get in Arkansas, its catfish! Every town in the state has at least one catfish restaurant in town, or three! Catfish sometimes gets a bad rap because of the muddiness you can get from them but if they are not the kind sitting the mud all day you can have a great tasting fish that has the ability to be cooked multiple ways.
First thing I want to do is get the Pico de Gallo started. This really needs time to meld those flavors together. After getting all the ingredients ready, I want to add those into a bowl and fold together and let sit in the refrigerator for about 30 minutes.
Next, I am going to get my pan hot, setting it for medium/high heat. Now take the fish and lay it on a sheet tray coating each fillet with oil, be careful to not use too much oil here as we don’t want to drown the fish with it. Just use enough to coat the fish to help the seasoning stick, about ½ tsp should be good, pending the size of your fillets. After coating the fish season with salt, pepper, and ¼ cup of the Cajun rub.
Now your pan should be at temperature so add some canola oil and lay your fish into the pan, be sure to lay the fish in the pan away from you not to splatter the hot oil on yourself. Note here as well that you may need to cook in batches. I like to cook two fillets at a time to make sure I am not letting the temperature drop on my pan too much. When I work in batches like this, I like to set the oven on the lowest temperature it will go and after I set the cooked fish on a tray to drain, I place it in the oven to keep warm while finishing my other fish. After I have placed the fish in the pan, I will drop 1 tbsp of butter to the pan and let it melt. After this is melted, I will take a spoon and spoon the melted butter over the fillet to keep it moist and help prevent it from drying out.
After the fish is done cooking, take the wine and add to the pan to deglaze the pan, letting the alcohol cook off, about 1 minute. After deglazing add in the butter and then the heavy cream, along with the rest of the Cajun rub. Using a whisk, I will scrap the bottom of the pan to make sure I get all those wonderful pieces of “fond” which are just the brown bits from the cooked fish on the bottom of the pan. Now let the cream sauce reduce, about 3 minutes.
It is time to plate the fish, set the fish on your plate. Ladle some of the sauce over the fish and top with some slices of the avocado and then top with the Pico de Gallo, and a couple of leaves of cilantro. So delicious and worthy of brownie points!
Pan Seared Cajun Catfish with Cajun Cream Sauce and Pico de Gallo
- 6 Catfish fillets
- 1 Tomato diced
- 1/2 cup Pickled jalapenos chopped
- 1 white onion diced
- 2 tbsp Cilantro chopped
- 1 tbsp Olive oil
- 1 tbsp Salt
- 1 tbsp Black pepper
- 2 Avocados sliced
- 1/3 cup Cajun seasoning
- 2 tbsp White wine
- 1 1/2 cup Heavy cream
- 3 tbsp Unsalted butter
- – Combine all Pico de Gallo ingredients in a bowl, mix well and place in refrigerator for at least 30 minutes
- – Set sauté pan to medium/high heat
- – Season fish by gently coating each filet with canola oil then salt, pepper, and Cajun seasoning
- – Add1 tbsp canola oil to pan. Add filets to pan 2 at a time, careful not to over crowd the pan
- – Add 1 tbsp of butter to pan; after melted use spoon to coat the fish with the butter as it cooks. Cook about 2.5 minutes per side
- – Set fish aside to rest. Lower heat to med./low and add heavy cream using whisk to scrap the bits off the bottom of pan. Get the cream to a soft boil and reducing, add in ¼ cup of Cajun seasoning to pan and whisk well. Reduce the sauce, about 3 minutes.
- – Add fish to plate and ladle the sauce over the fish
- – Garnish with 3 slices of avocado and top with the Pico de Gallo