“With that base, any of the lower-end fish would go well with it because there’s a lot going on,” said Josh Smith, General Warren’s executive chef, who mentioned skate wing, which is “basically a baby stingray,” and catfish.
“Catfish is another big one that’s underutilized and pigeon-holed into one way you can make it,” he described. “You could add it to a bouillabaisse or a fish stew.” Abney’s also a catfish fan. “There’s a sweetness to it and a crispiness, depending on how you cook it. Catfish is often fried down South,” she said. “Grits or polenta would be nice, lots of fresh herbs.”
There truly are plenty of fish in the sea. So don’t be afraid to look beyond shrimp or salmon and talk some trash ... fish that is.
“To offer something beautifully presented and fresh from the water, you can’t beat that.”
Autumn Seafood Stew INGREDIENTS
Fresh fish Seasonal vegetables
Spiced carrot puree:
6 cups carrots, small dice
3 tablespoons shallots, small dice
1 tablespoon garlic
5 star anise
4 bay leaves
1 bottle (750ml) sparkling cider
4 cups water
2 cups blood orange juice (may substitute orange juice)
2 teaspoons salt
Place star anise and bay leaves in a cheesecloth sachet. Combine all ingredients in a medium-sized saucepan and simmer on a medium heat until tender. Transfer mixture to a blender and puree.
Once the puree has been prepared, it is time for the fish. You may use any affordable fresh fish that you find at the market. Cod or pollock are both great affordable fish that the average home chef can prepare. Simply pat the fish dry and sprinkle with salt and pepper. Heat a large sauté pan up over a medium heat and add 3 tablespoons of vegetable oil. Gingerly add the fish to the hot pan. Sear the fish for approximately 4 minutes per side or until cooked through. Remove from the heat and add a tablespoon of butter. Swirl the fish around gently in the butter. Heat the carrot broth and add your favorite seasonal vegetables. Roasted potatoes, parsnips, cipollini onions and kale work very well, but let your tastes and creativity be your guide.
To serve, simply scoop 4 ounces of the puree into a shallow bowl, arrange your vegetables to your liking and place your buttered fish on top.
RECIPE COURTESY OF GENERAL WARREN
Spiced Catfish & Poblano-Cheddar Grits with Stewed Collard Greens INGREDIENTS
2 catfish fillets
1 cup yellow grits
½ bunch collard greens
1 poblano pepper
1½ ounces cheddar cheese
1 tablespoon butter
2 tablespoons spiced catfish spice blend (rice flour, ancho chile powder, ground cumin, smoked paprika)
Prepare the ingredients: Wash and dry the fresh produce. Remove and discard the collard green stems; roughly chop the leaves. Grate the cheese.
Cut out and discard the stem, ribs and seeds of the poblano pepper; small dice. Immediately wash your hands, knife and cutting board after handling the poblano pepper.
Cook the poblano pepper: In a medium pan (nonstick, if you have one), heat 2 teaspoons of olive oil on medium-high until hot. Add the poblano pepper; season with salt and pepper. Cook, stirring occasionally, 3 to 5 minutes, or until softened. Transfer to a bowl. Wipe out the pan.
Stew the collard greens: In the pan used to cook the poblano pepper, heat 2 teaspoons of olive oil on medium until hot. Add the collard greens and ¼ cup of water; season with salt and pepper. Cook, stirring occasionally, 6 to 8 minutes, or until the collard greens have wilted and the water has evaporated; season with salt and pepper to taste. Transfer to a bowl and set aside in a warm place. Rinse and wipe out the pan.
Cook the grits: While the collard greens stew, in a large pot, heat 4 cups of water and a big pinch of salt to boiling on high. Once boiling, slowly whisk in the grits; reduce
the heat to low. Simmer, whisking occasionally, 10 to 12 minutes, or until thickened. (If the grits seem dry, gradually add up to ¼ cup of water to achieve your desired consistency.) Remove from heat. Whisk in the butter, cheese and cooked poblano pepper until thoroughly combined. Season with salt and pepper to taste. Set aside in a warm place.
Coat the catfish: While the grits cook, place the spice blend on a plate. Pat the catfish fillets dry with paper towels; season with salt and pepper on both sides. Coat 1 side of each seasoned fillet in the spice blend (tapping off any excess).
Cook the catfish and serve your dish: In the pan used to cook the collard greens, heat a thin layer of oil on medium-high until hot. Add the catfish fillets, coated sides down. Cook 3 to 5 minutes on the first side, or until golden brown and crispy. Flip and cook 2 to 3 minutes, or until cooked through. Remove from heat. Divide the cooked grits between 2 bowls. Top with the stewed collard greens and cooked catfish fillets. Enjoy!
Whole Foods in Devon sells porgy for $3.99 a pound.