Jerk Catfish

The Jamaican spice treatment called jerk isn't just for meat and chicken; it's great on fish too. Rub the spice paste on catfish fillets and broil for a crisp, spicy coating. Though the sesame seeds aren't traditional, they add a pleasant crunch and rich flavor.

  • Servings: 4


  • 1/3 cup chopped onion
  • 1 clove garlic, smashed
  • 1 tablespoon sesame seeds
  • 2 teaspoons brown sugar
  • 1 1/2 teaspoons ground allspice
  • 1 1/2 teaspoons dried thyme
  • 1/2 teaspoon grated nutmeg
  • 1 1/4 teaspoons salt
  • 1/4 teaspoon fresh-ground black pepper
  • 1/4 teaspoon cayenne
  • 2 1/2 tablespoons cooking oil
  • 1/2 teaspoon vinegar
  • 2 pounds catfish fillets

How to make this recipe

  1. In a blender, puree the onion, garlic, and sesame seeds with the brown sugar, allspice, thyme, nutmeg, 1 teaspoon of the salt, the black pepper, cayenne, oil, and vinegar. Heat the broiler. Lightly oil a broiler pan or baking sheet.

  2. Sprinkle both sides of the catfish fillets with the remaining 1/4 teaspoon salt and put them on the prepared baking sheet, skinned-side down. Spread the spice mixture over the fish in an even layer.

  3. Broil the fish, about 6 inches from the heat if possible, until well-browned and just done, about 5 minutes for 3/4-inch-thick fillets.


Fish Alternatives Though catfish is lean and firm, those qualities aren't imperative here. You can use fillets of a different nature, such as bluefish, red snapper, or wolffish.

Suggested Pairing

Make your beverage choice as simple and casual as this dish—and look for something that can take the heat. Try either a White Zinfandel, a Rosé, or your favorite beer.

Photo © Sneh Roy Published February 2012

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