Cat, fish, recipe

You'd smile too if you were on the payroll of the Catfish Institute

(Because nothing says "I love you" like a recycled blog post, I offer this culinary entry. Apologies to the One True Shaker Gourmet!)

So I was reading an issue of Eating Well and ran across a full-page ad featuring celeb chef Cat Cora and touting her new spokespersonship for something called the Catfish Institute. I paid attention to the ad because Cora is teh cute, but eventually I noticed that there was also an actual catfish recipe involved. I love catfish, its second-class reputation notwithstanding (as do other smart people), and so scooted right over to get the goods on Cat Cora's Catfish Lettuce Tacos.

In a word, friends: awesome. We've had it twice now, most recently last night. As always with recipes, things get changed in the translation from outline to actual meal. First, ignore the call for oregano in the cooking instructions; it's not listed in the ingredient list and is a typo (should say "black beans" instead, I think). Also, rinse the black beans beforehand if you're using the canned variety.

With my usual heavy-handedness in the kitchen, the dish turns out to be more of a catfish salad than a "lettuce taco," but we don't mind that. Radicchio is nice but not required; crispy romaine pairs well with the butter lettuce. The marinade with chili powder, cumin, and cayenne pepper gives the fish a redder hue in real life than in the image above. I pre-heated the oven with a cast-iron skillet inside, used the skillet to sear the marinated fish atop the stove over high heat, and then popped the pan back into the 400 degree oven for 12 minutes. (Please don't forget to use an oven mitt.)

The fish is indeed spicy, but the lettuce, tomato salad mix, and (optional) sour cream provide cooling balance.

It occurs to me that this would make a nice casual dish for visiting friends. Of course, that means you have to clean the house up beforehand. Small price to pay for this recipe, though.

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