Quick (and Tasty) Way to More Fish

28 Feb

This week, I’m keeping in mind of all the savvy singles who work and . . . if they’re going to cook supper for themselves when they get home, it better be fast. Fish is one of the proteins you can get on your plate in short order. Most rules suggest cooking (be it baking, grilling, poaching or frying) fish at 10 minutes per inch of thickness, which covers most single-sized portions like fillets or fish steaks. (Whole fish may need more time, but as a Savvy single you’d likely tackle those on weekends or for parties.)

This recipe for Crispy Catfish Po’Boys is another from Fine Cooking’s Make It Tonight  (The Taunton Press, Inc., 2012). Making these sandwiches might take 15 minutes, possibly 20 for a novice cook. I made oven baked sweet potato wedges as a side dish and that pumped the cooking time up to 30 minutes in total.

Crispy Catfish Po'Boys with Baked Sweet Potato Wedges

Crispy Catfish Po’Boys with Baked Sweet Potato Wedges

I’m always on the look-out for more ways to prepare fish. I enjoy catfish, finding it quite meaty compared, for example, to sole fillets. I wouldn’t normally latch onto a fried fish recipe but for some reason I felt this one wouldn’t be too oily.

Coleslaw mix, mayonnaise, sugar, cider vinegar

Coleslaw mix, mayonnaise, sugar, cider vinegar

Crispy Catfish Po’Boys with Sweet Potato Wedges               Serves: 2

  • 1                                very large sweet potato
  • 1/2 Tbsp                  extra-virgin olive oil
  • to taste                     sea salt, pepper, paprika, garlic powder
  • 1.5 cups                    cole slaw mix
  • 1/8 cup                     mayonnaise
  • 1/2 Tbsp                   cider vinegar
  • 1 tsp                           granulated white sugar
  • 1/2 tsp                       celery seed
  • 1 large                        egg
  • 3/8 cup                     cornmeal
  • 1/2 tsp                       kosher or sea salt
  • 1/4 tsp                      ground black pepper
  • 2                                 4 – 5 ounce catfish fillets
  • 2                                 long, soft-crust Italian rolls, split
  • (NOTE: I made the mistake of using a crustier bun which made eating the sandwich more challenging.)
  • 1 cup                          canola (or vegetable) oil, not EVOO
  • 4                                 sandwich-style dill pickle slices (or equivalent sliced dills)


1.     Preheat oven to 425 F. Set one oven rack 6” below the broiler. Set another rack at the centre position.

2.     Line a rimmed cookie sheet with aluminum foil. Spray with oil.

Prepare Swwet Potato Wedges for the oven.

Prepare Sweet Potato Wedges for the oven.

3.     Scrub sweet potato clean. Cut into quarters or sixths. Then slice each quarter into thin wedges. Toss the wedges with the oil and seasonings. Place wedges in a single layer on the cookie sheet.

4.     Bake wedges on centre rack for 10 – 15 minutes until wedges are soft and bottoms are browned. Use an egg lifter to flip each wedge and bake 10 – 15 minutes more until wedges brown all over and to your taste.

5.      Meanwhile, in a medium-sized bowl mix together coleslaw mix, mayonnaise, cider vinegar, sugar and celery seed. Set aside.

Prepare coleslaw topping. Set aside,

Prepare coleslaw topping. Set aside.

5.     Place a 10” skillet on a burner. Pour 1 cup of canola oil in the pan, turn heat to medium and allow oil to heat.

6.      Rinse catfish fillets and pat dry with paper towelling. In a pie plate place the cornmeal, 1/2 tsp salt and 1/4 tsp pepper, mix well with a fork. In another shallow dish (pasta bowl, glass pie plate, etc.) whisk the egg.

Prepare catfish for egg bath and cornmeal coating

Prepare catfish for egg bath and cornmeal coating

7.     Working with one fillet at a time, dip it in the whisked egg, coating both sides. Allow egg to drip from fillet and then dredge through the cornmeal mixture, thoroughly coating all sides. Shake lightly to allow loose crumbs to fall.

Cook in hot canola oil for 4 -5 minutes

Cook in hot canola oil for 4 -5 minutes

8.     Both coated fillets should fit into the hot oil in the 10” skillet. Fry for 4 – 5 minutes. Using tongs, turn each fillet and cook another 4 – 5 minutes or until the fish is cooked through and the outsides are golden and crispy.

. . .  . turn and cook another 4 - 5 mintes.

. . . . turn and cook another 4 – 5 minutes.

9.     Remove cooked fish to a plate with a couple of layers of paper towelling.

Allow catfish to rest on paper towelling for a few minutes.

Allow catfish to rest on paper towelling for a few minutes.

10.     When sweet potato wedges are cooked, remove from the oven and set the broiler temperature to high. Keep wedges warm by pulling aluminum foil up around them to create a tent.

11.     Place a split Italian roll, cut-side, up on a cookie sheet and place under preheated broiler. Allow the rolls to toast for a mere 30 seconds or until they are golden brown.

Assemble your sandwich.

Assemble your sandwich.

12.     Assemble your po’boy sandwich by placing 2 dill pickle slices on the bottom side of one roll. Top with a fried catfish fillet, 1/2 of the coleslaw mixture and top half of bun. Cut the sandwich in half to eat. Plate with 1/2 of the baked sweet potato wedges.

A savvy supper in 30 minutes!

A savvy supper in 30 minutes!

Make sure you eat the Po’Boys with a napkin under your chin and a fork to scoop up any cole slaw that escapes the sandwich. Mine was very tasty and filling, the fish was moist and crispy and not the least bit greasy. The meal reheated well.  A keeper for this savvy kitchen.

SECOND HELPING: Store the remaining sweet potato wedges in aluminum foil. When cooled, wrap the second fish fillet in the paper towelling and pop into a zip lock bag. Store left over coleslaw and keep 2nd Italian roll for later. When ready to eat, reheat sweet potato wedges in their foil packet in a 300 F oven for 10 – 15 minutes. Open packet to heat for a few minutes to crisp them up a bit. For the 2nd sandwich, broil the bun as above. Place paper towel-wrapped fish fillet in the microwave and heat on HIGH for 60 – 90 seconds until heated through. Assemble sandwich as above.


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