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Most cooks fry catfish, but corporate chef Josh Feathers shows students how to bake it instead in a nutty crust of ground pecans. To determine whether the fish is done, he inserts a wire cake tester into the fillet, then removes it. If the tester is warm—not hot—to the touch, the fish is ready.Chef Tip Use ramps instead of scallions when they're available.Plus: F&W's Fish and Seafood Cooking Guide More Fast Fish Recipes

Josh Feathers
May 2009

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Recipe Summary

active:
40 mins
total:
1 hr
Yield:
4
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Ingredients

Ingredient Checklist

Directions

Instructions Checklist
  • Preheat the oven to 425°. In a medium saucepan of boiling salted water, cook the turnips and carrots until tender, 5 minutes; drain, transfer to a bowl and wipe out the saucepan. In the saucepan, heat 1 teaspoon of the olive oil. Add the pancetta and cook over moderate heat until the fat has rendered, about 4 minutes. Using a slotted spoon, transfer the pancetta to a plate. Add the turnips, carrots, scallion bulbs and hominy to the saucepan and cook over moderate heat, stirring occasionally, until richly glazed, about 8 minutes.

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  • Cut enough of the scallion greens into 2-inch lengths to make 1/2 cup; finely chop the remaining greens to make 1 cup. Add the vegetable stock, the 1/2 cup of scallion greens and the parsley to the saucepan. Cover and simmer over low heat until the scallion bulbs are tender, about 2 minutes. Stir in the lemon juice, marjoram, thyme, allspice and cayenne. Stir in the butter, 1 tablespoon at a time, and season with salt and pepper. Cover the stew and remove from the heat.

  • In a skillet, heat the remaining 1 tablespoon of olive oil. Add the 1 cup of chopped scallion greens and cook over high heat until softened, about 1 minute. Scrape the scallion greens and oil into a medium bowl. Stir in the bread crumbs and pecans and season with salt and pepper. Arrange the catfish fillets on a large rimmed baking sheet and season with salt and pepper. Press the bread crumb mixture on each fillet to form a crust. Roast the fish on the top shelf of the oven for about 8 minutes, until the crust is crisp and the fish is just cooked through.

  • Gently reheat the hominy stew and spoon into shallow bowls. Scatter the reserved pancetta on top and serve with the catfish.

Suggested Pairing

Crisp unoaked Chardonnay from Australia.

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