Chef Patrick Mould’s recipe is the very spirit of Louisiana’s cookery. To perfectly fried catfish fillets he adds the lagniappe of a shrimp sauce, good enough to stand on its own spooned over white rice. Many regional recipes begin with “make a roux,” and this one is no exception. The sauce base is built with the Louisiana “holy trinity” — onion, celery, and bell pepper. And yes, there’s a bit of Tabasco in there, too.
- Oil - 4 tablespoons
- Flour - 2 tablespoons
- Onion - 1/4 small, chopped
- Celery Stalk - 1/2, chopped
- Bell Pepper - 1/4, seeded, deribbed, and chopped
- Garlic Clove - 1, minced
- Shrimp Stock or Bottled Clam juice - 1 cup
- Dry white wine - 1/4 cup
- Seasoned Salt - 1/4 teaspoon
- Paprika - 1/4 teaspoon
- Tabasco or other hot pepper sauce - 1/4 teaspoon
- Salt to taste
- Shrimp - 4 ounces, cooked small
- Green Onion - 1 tablespoon, chopped
- Fresh Parsley - 1 tablespoon, chopped
- Oil for deep frying
- Eggs - 2
- Milk - 1/2 cup
- Buttermilk - 1/2 cup
- Seasoned Salt - 1 tablespoon
- Catfish fillets - four, 8-ounce
- All-Purpose Flour - 3 cups
To make the sauce: Begin by making a white roux. Heat 2 tablespoons of the oil in a small saute pan and add the 2 tablespoons of flour. Cook over low heat, stirring, for about 3 to 4 minutes. Set aside.
In a medium saucepan, heat the remaining 2 tablespoons cooking oil over medium heat and saute the onion, celery, and bell pepper for 1 minute. Add garlic and saute for 1 minute. Be careful not to burn the garlic. Add the shrimp stock, white wine, seasoned salt, paprika, Tabasco, and salt. Whisk in the white roux and cook until the sauce thickens, stirring occasionally, about 3 minutes. Add the cooked shrimp, green onion, and parsley. Simmer for 1 minute. Keep warm.
To prepare the catfish: In a large heavy pot or deep-fryer, heat six inches of oil to 350 F. Beat the eggs, milk, and buttermilk until combined. Add 1-1/2 teaspoon of the seasoned salt. Stir the remaining seasoned salt into the flour. Dredge the fillets in the flour, then dip into the egg batter, then back in the flour. Drop the fillets into the hot oil and fry until golden brown, about 3 to 4 minutes.
To serve: Place a catfish fillet on each warmed serving dish. Top with the sauce. Seasoned steamed rice makes a perfect accompaniment.