Thursday, April 2, 2009

Crunchy Oven-Baked Catfish with Lemon-Dill Sauce

I always make oven-baked fish at least once during Lent. I'll make this at other times of the year too. This is our family's favorite fish recipe. All the kids like it because it is nice and crunchy, but not fattening like deep-fried fish would be.

Now, you could certainly drop this into a deep fryer (if you have one), and it would be DIVINE. But...David and I are trying (sometimes not very hard, but still trying!) to loose weight. I only want to lose a couple more pounds, David has a ways to go ;-).

Regular store-bought tarter sauce works just fine, but I wanted to use up the lemons I had, and decided to make the Lemon-Dill Sauce. It is very good on other types of fish too--try it with salmon, cod, sole, or halibut.

I'll apologize in advance...I didn't take as many pics as I usually do...I am teaching a FAMILIA class every Friday night through the middle of May, so I've been in a hurry, trying to have dinner with the family before I have to leave.
If you're like my redneck family in Bryan and catch your own fish...good for you. Otherwise, go to the store, buy some catfish, and let's get cracking! (Oh, I promise to post pics later on this weekend).

Oven Baked Catfish with Lemon-Dill Sauce

1 1/2 cups panko/dried plain breadcrumbs
1/2 cup all-purpose flour
2 eggs, lightly beaten
salt and black pepper
2-3 pounds catfish fillets, patted dry
1 tablespoon creole seasoning blend (like Tony Chachere's)
Butter spray
3/4 cup mayo or salad dressing
3 tablespoons buttermilk
2 tablespoons chopped fresh dill or 2 teaspoons dried dill weed
1 tablespoon snipped fresh chives/green onion
1/2 teaspoon fresh lemon zest
2 teaspoons lemon juice

First, let's make the sauce. Combine the mayo/salad dressing, buttermilk, dill, chives/green onion, lemon zest, and lemon juice in a small bowl. Cover and refrigerate for one hour.

If you do not have buttermilk, you can use regular milk, and an additional teaspoon of lemon juice to make up for the tangy acidity you get from buttermilk.

The next thing we have to do is set up our breading station. Place the breadcrumbs in a shallow bowl, combine the flour and creole seasoning in another bowl, and put the eggs in a third bowl.

Season the catfish with the salt and pepper. Dredge the fillets in the flour and tap off any excess. Dip the fish into the egg, then press firmly into the breadcrumbs on both sides.

Lay the breaded fish on a lightly greased baking sheet. Spray the top of the fillets with the butter spray.

Bake the fish at 425 degrees for about 15-20 minutes, or until the fish flakes easily with a fork. Thinner fillets will be done sooner than thicker ones, so you might want to check a smaller fillet before the cooking time is up. The biggest fillets took a bit longer than 20 minutes.

(At this point, we discovered Gabriel had escaped from the back yard and was halfway down the street on his tricycle, perfectly happy to go on a solo ride. So I didn't get a pic of the fish after they came out of the oven ;-)

Remove the fish to a serving platter and serve with the Lemon-Dill Sauce. I also made some hush puppies (not from scratch) and a Marinated Pea Salad on the side (which will be posted sometime next week). I should tell you any leftovers make awesome fish sandwiches--which David will attest to ;-).

The kids prefer ketchup with their fish, but they happily devoured their portions :-).

Be sure to check back next week for the last Friday Lenten recipe!

God bless your table tonight!

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