Wednesday, March 24, 2010

Vacation Recovery Diet with Creole Blackened Catfish

Back from a week in New Orleans and man do I need a diet! What a week of eating, eating and a little drinking thrown in there supported by more eating. It was a completely delicious and decadent adventure! Now that I am back home it’s time for some more healthy meals to balance out my over indulgent week away. One key problem…I HATE dieting. I am very good at talking myself into just about anything but healthy foods are not one of them. Don’t get me wrong, I love fresh veggies, but the whole idea of dieting automatically makes my brain and taste buds go on the defensive. So I’ve decided to just trick myself into eating better foods (this week at least). I’m going with lots of color and bright flavors to get myself on track and give my body a healthy rest.

Tonight’s meal took inspiration right out of New Orleans with a blackened catfish using Creole flavorings. I’ve taken some liberties with this one in that a) I’m blackening my fish in the broiler (thus avoiding the pan frying and fatty oil) and b) making my own Creole seasoning without the excessive salt found in most store bought versions. Not that salt and pan frying aren’t the bee’s knees, but let’s face it, salty fried fish is a moot diet point. The addition of a bit of cornmeal to the fish coating gives it a great crunch that you might otherwise get from pan frying.

I’m serving my catfish with a warm roasted asparagus, corn and tomato salad to provide even more bright color and texture not to mention veggies! Roasting the tomatoes makes them sweet and juicy and helps balance out the spice from the fish seasoning. All in all a very successful dish.

Creole Seasoning
(A Girl and Her Kitchen)

1 tablespoon onion powder
1 tablespoon garlic powder
1 tablespoon dried oregano
1 tablespoon dried sweet basil
1/2 tablespoon dried thyme
1/2 tablespoon black pepper
1/2 tablespoon white pepper
1/2 tablespoon cayenne pepper
1/2 tablespoon celery seed
2 and 1/2 tablespoons sweet paprika

Mix all ingredients well (either using a Cuisinart, mortar and pestle, or a spoon and bowl) and store in airtight container until ready to use.

New Orleans Blackened Catfish
(A Girl and Her Kitchen)

2 catfish fillets
2 tbsp yellow corn meal (polenta)
2 tbsp Creole Seasoning
¼ tsp salt
1 lemon, cut into wedges

Heat broiler; coat the rack of a broiler pan with cooking spray. In a shallow bowl, stir together cornmeal and Creole seasoning.
Dredge fillets in cornmeal mixture, turning to coat well on both sides. Shake off excess, and place on prepared rack.
Broil until opaque throughout and blackened on the outside, 3 minutes on first side then gently flip and cook another 2 or 3 minutes (cooking time may vary depending on thickness of the fish). Squeeze a bit of lemon over each fillet and serve immediately, with additional lemon wedges to use at will. May also serve with a side of tartar sauce if desired.

Roasted Asparagus, Corn and Tomato Warm Salad
(A Girl and Her Kitchen)
1 bunch asparagus, woody ends trimmed
1 pint cherry or grape tomatoes, halved
1 cup frozen corn, cooked per package instructions (or 1 ear of corn, grilled and then corn kernels cut offthe cob)
1 tbsp olive oil
1/8 tsp sherry vinegar
Salt and pepper to taste
1 pinch Creole seasoning
1 slice bacon, crumbled (optional)

Drizzle half the olive oil over asparagus, sprinkle with a touch of salt and pepper and arrange on a cookie sheet.
Toss the halved tomatoes in the rest of the olive oil, sherry vinegar and a sprinkle of salt and pepper. Arrange on a second cookie sheet.
Roast both asparagus and tomatoes in oven at 400º for 10 minutes until the asparagus is tender but still with a touch of bite (like al dente pasta) and the tomatoes have warmed through and started to caramelize. (If you have time you can roast the tomatoes without the asparagus at 300º for 30 minutes for even better result then do asparagus separately.)
Cut the asparagus into one inch pieces and toss with the tomatoes and corn in a small bowl. Season with salt, pepper and pinch of Creole seasoning. If using, gently mix in the crumbled bacon and serve.

1 comment:

  1. Heh, I have the same issue with dieting. That's why I don't do it anymore. Sometimes I just don't eat quite so much crap. ;)

    It all looks wicked good, catfish is on my list of fish I need to try.