Apparently I’m in a nostalgic type mood. I have been craving pecan encrusted catfish with roasted veggies.
This dish was something that I got used to making at my very first real restaurant job- a position that I loved, some times hated, but ultimately loved. I was very sad when this restaurant closed and I had to move on in the food world. But, I took with me the foundation of learning how to actually cook.
Growing up in Illinois, especially Central Illinois, I was used to eating fish on Fridays and having it readily available any other day of the week as well. Nope, I’m not Catholic, but it seemed like everyone in my home town ate fish on Fridays, Catholic or not.
It seemed no matter where one went- cafe, diner, restaurant- you got fish in either a beer batter with corn meal or a straight corn meal breading and this was deep fried. Sometimes that tastes good- other times the grease is just a bit much for the tummy. While working at my first restaurant in Springfield, IL I was introduced to the idea of “oven frying”. Oven frying equals crispy, baked goodness.
The way to make this pecan encrusted catfish is ridiculously simple but so tasty. In fact, its so simple, I’m making it tonight at home.
Flour, pecans, garlic, salt, pepper, and Italian seasoning are all blended together in a food processor creating a grayish breading. Catfish fillets are dredged in a couple beaten eggs with a touch of milk mixed in. The fish is then tossed in the flour and placed on a greased baking sheet. Once on the baking sheet one simply sprays the fillets with a light, vegetable cooking spray and tosses it in a 350 degree oven for about 20 minutes or until the fish is white and flakey.
I usually serve this with roasted veggies, as we did at the restaurant, but you can pair just about anything with it. Pasta, rice, mashed potatoes- doesn’t matter. It’s tasty just by itself!
I’m making this tonight for the family. Give it a try. I bet you’ll like it as much as I do!