Sunday, September 27, 2009

Bad Name, Great Fish - Crusty Catfish with Israeli Couscous

It's a wonder that a delicious fish like catfish has such an unfortunate name. But if you look past that and give it a try, I think you'll discover that it's not only light, flaky and healthy but also relatively inexpensive. I decided to vamp it up with a crusty topping of Panko breadcrumbs, fresh herbs and lemon juice. The accompanying side was toasted Israeli Couscous that I dressed up with golden raisins, fresh lemon zest and parsley. The entire dinner took about a half an hour to cook, so if you're looking for a quick, impromptu dish, this one's for you.

Foodista's Crusty Catfish with Israeli Couscous

Ingredients (serves 2)
2 large, fresh catfish filets
1 shallot, chopped
1 cup of Panko breadcrumbs (no substitutes)
2 tbs or a small bunch of fresh parsley, chopped (reserve 1 tbs for breadcrumb topping and the other for the couscous)
The juice of 1/2 lemon

1 teaspoon of fresh lemon zest (reserve 1/2 tsp for the breadcrumb topping and the other for the couscous)
1 box of Israeli Couscous

1 handful of golden raisins
1 tbs of olive oil and more for the breadcrumb topping
Salt and pepper to taste

Preheat oven to 425 degrees. Lightly oil fish using a pastry brush. Add salt and pepper to both sides and place on an aluminum foil-lined cookie sheet. Combine breadcrumbs, shallot, 1 tbs of fresh chopped parsley, lemon juice, 1/2 tsp lemon zest, salt, pepper and a small glug of olive oil in a medium bowl. Spoon on top of oiled catfish until coated. Don't be afraid to pile it high if you have extra breadcrumbs - it will only make it crunchier. You can also add extra olive oil on top. Bake for 15-20 minutes or until breadcrumbs are golden brown. Let cool for 5 minutes.

Make Israeli Couscous according to directions on the box. Add the remainder of the parsley, lemon zest, golden raisins, salt and pepper. Let stand (covered) for an extra five to ten minutes until the couscous becomes flavored with these ingredients.


  1. Looks delicious, as usual. I also like catfish blackened and spiced Cajun-style with simple veggies and rice. Just another idea to inspire you with a new-found fishy!

  2. What's so unfortunate about the name "catfish"? I suppose it doesn't seem odd to me since I grew up eating it.

    This does look like a tasty dish! We've always battered it with cornmeal and fried it. I'll have to try your version.

  3. Both are great suggestions - I'll have to seek out recipes and try them. Texannewyorker - I guess the association with the word cat is a tad strange for me when thinking about fish. I think a lot of people view it as a low-brow type of fish but I really like it.

  4. I believe they call it "catfish" because it has whiskers, though I could be wrong. Yes, much of the world looks at it as low-brow, especially since it's a bottom-feeder; but hey, so are shrimp and lobster! I love the taste, too.



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