Wednesday, April 7, 2010

Sustainable Eco-Friendly Catfish Redux: Thai Style

This dish was set off on the recommendation of a fellow food blogger The Kitchen Masochist. I would enthusiastically advise you to check out her fun, imaginative and enlightening blog at http://kitchen-masochist.blogspot.com/. Eco-friendly sustainable American farm-raised catfish is center stage again. Only now with a Thailand twist. The Kitchen Masochist was kind enough to supply me with a recipe for a traditional Thai Salad called Yum Pla Dook Foo.

Cooking is not a recipe; it’s a philosophy. Recipes are guides. Creativity in the kitchen is like air in the lungs. Explore your artistic side and truthfully express thyself. This interpretation is my twist on the Thai classic.

When conceptualizing this dish I wanted to keep the unique flavor profile intact. Job done! The “salad” portion of the traditional dish is shaved green mango. Florida mango production starts in May. I am not proud of the fact that for the purposes of creating this particular recipe I purchased a mango today. Product of Nicaragua. I am a strident supporter of using local seasonal produce. Nevertheless...today I made an exception.

The cooking of the catfish is involved but gratifying. Baking the fish in the oven first makes it easy to flake. When it comes time to fry the catfish, the oil better be screaming hot. The final texture is so crispy on the palate that it's like eating catfish croutons.

Curly endive or Frisee is a wonderful bitter green to use. In this case it perfectly complimented the sweet mango. The harmony between sweet and sour is found throughout Thai cooking. My final curtain call for the salad was a drizzle of an incredible Thai peanut sauce.

Thanks again to the Kitchen Masochist.

I hope you enjoy this wonderful salad…I know I did!

Catfish & Mango Salad

For the Catfish:
2 – 8oz farm-raised catfish fillets
Wondra flour

Spice Blend (equal parts of each)
Smoked Paprika
Sea salt

1. Bake the fish in a oven at 300 F for 12 minutes
2. Remove fish from oven. Place on a large platter
3. Heat 3 inches of canola oil in a deep pot to 360 F
4. With a fork gently flake the fish.
5. Drain the fish of its juices
6. Sprinkle with Wondra flour. Enough to coat the pieces of fish
7. Shake off excess
8. Prepare a plate lined with paper towels
9. Fry the fish till golden brown. (Do not overcook) Black no good.
10. Remove to drain on paper towels.
11. Sprinkle with spice blend while hot

For the Salad:
3 Bird’s eye chilies (minced)
1 tsp sugar
2 tbs fish sauce
1 lime (juiced)
¼ cup cashews (roasted)
2 Asian shallots (thinly sliced)
½ cup mango (diced)
Frisee greens
Thai Peanut sauce

1. Combine in a non-reactive bowl the sugar, chilies, fish sauce, lime juice
2. Center the diced mango on the palate
3. Artistically place the Frisee – (your choice)
4. Dress the salad with the lime chili mixture
5. Top with the catfish
6. Sprinkle the shallots and cashews
7. Drizzle peanut sauce around the plate

Thai Peanut Sauce:
4 tsp corn oil
½ cup minced red onion
2 tbs minced garlic
½ tsp hot chili pepper
2 tbs sugar
2 tbs vinegar
1/3 cup peanut butter
1 cup water

1. In a blender, combine oil, garlic, red onion, and hot chili peppers. Blend for 60 seconds.
2. Heat the mixture in a saucepan over low heat until fragrant.
3. Add the peanut butter. Mix well over low heat.
4. Add the water. Simmer for 10 minutes till thickened
5. Stir in the vinegar and sugar. Simmer for 2 minutes. Taste check for sour & sweet balance, add more vinegar or sugar as needed.

That’s it for now…till we exchange a few words again…Peace!

49 comments:

  1. Wow - looks so pretty and festive! Love the dish and the presentation. And I agree, cooking is art :-)

    ReplyDelete
  2. Enlightening blog? You're too kind. Thank you for your such kind words.

    Nice interpretation. Very creative! catfish croutons- I like that!

    I love the way you plated the dish. The frisee makes it look like a wreath.

    Question: Ripe yellow mangos generally contain more juice than green ones, it didn't affect the crunchiness of your catfish croutons?

    ReplyDelete
  3. Cooking Rookie...Thank you for the kind words. Cooking is truly art, undoubtably. Take care.

    ReplyDelete
  4. Kitchen Masochist...You do have a great blog. The crunchiness is not affected because the dish was eaten quickly. If you let it sit around...you'd probably have a problem with that. Thank you again for sending over the idea and for your friendship.

    ReplyDelete
  5. That is definitely my kind of dish, flavorful yet light! lovely presentation!

    ReplyDelete
  6. I think fish and mango is the best combination.Nice presentation!

    ReplyDelete
  7. This is really an interesting recipe. I love the play of flavors in the dish. I found your blog by chance but will be back often. Have a great day. Blessings...Mary

    ReplyDelete
  8. "Cooking is not a recipe; it’s a philosophy." I love that. Beautiful picture. I want to try the dressing soon!

    ReplyDelete
  9. Silvia...Thank you...that is high praise coming from someone who produces the kind of food you do.

    ReplyDelete
  10. shahana...Thank you for stopping by and commenting. Much appreciated.

    ReplyDelete
  11. Mary...Thank you. I appreciate you finding us and commenting. I hope you do come back and join us. Be well.

    ReplyDelete
  12. Kenzie...That is my motto. Words I live by.

    ReplyDelete
  13. Excellent combination of flavours.
    What a great round up.
    Thanks for your visit x

    ReplyDelete
  14. YUM! I have to admit, I've never worked with catfish before. But this may be where I start. I love the flavors you use! Nice work!

    ReplyDelete
  15. hey lararo!!

    Here to drop by again ;) hehe. to tell you I won't be around for 1.5months to reply your comments because I'll be going to china for vacation. WOOHOO! but do check out my blog when you have time. i have schedule posts every other day to entertain you guys ;) please take care !!

    Jen from www.passion4food.ca

    ReplyDelete
  16. Holly...Give it a go. Farmed-raised catfish is wonderfuly flavored and eco-friendly. Thank you for the kind words.

    ReplyDelete
  17. I love the Thai flavors in this. It's so fresh, spicy and vibrant. It's just the type of food I'm craving as the weather is getting warmer.

    ReplyDelete
  18. Cinnamon-Girl...Thank you for the kind words. Give it a go. I think you'll like it.

    ReplyDelete
  19. Thanks so much for stopping by my blog! This dish looks beautiful!

    ReplyDelete
  20. I LOVE Thai-style salads, very light yet with such complex flavors!

    ReplyDelete
  21. Christina...Thank you for stopping by. Look forward to more of your posts.

    ReplyDelete
  22. The Recipe Diva...This is a wonderful salad with bold flavors. Thank you for your feedback.

    ReplyDelete
  23. I completely agree with the "cooking is not a recipe, it's a philosophy.". Such a nice looking dish! Yum!

    ReplyDelete
  24. Mmmm looks GOOD. I hear you about buying out of season produce. Everything is out of season in Alaska :D

    ReplyDelete
  25. theUngourmet...Words to live by in the kitchen. Thank you for stopping by.

    ReplyDelete
  26. Laura...Thank you for the comment. In Alaska in must be very difficult. However, not in Florida. It's just not something I like to do.

    ReplyDelete
  27. An unusual salad, richly textured and beautifully presented. I've eaten a lot of Thai but never this. Definitely an involved recipe but one well worth attempting, or maybe I'll just look for it on the menu, next time I'm in a Thai restaurant!

    ReplyDelete
  28. Denise...Thank you. It is a wonderful salad. Remember this is my take on it. I'd imagine you would have the traditional version at a Thai restaurant.

    ReplyDelete
  29. I just started to eat fish, and this reciope makes me try it right now! Looks so appetizing and yumm

    ReplyDelete
  30. Mmmmm wow this looks delicious yum yum!!

    ReplyDelete
  31. Ann...This is a good fish to ease you in. Firm flesh and fishy at all. Thank you for your comment.

    ReplyDelete
  32. Natalie...Thank you for stopping by and for commenting.

    ReplyDelete
  33. Catherine...Thank you very much!

    ReplyDelete
  34. Lazaro, this looks so delicious! I can't wait to try this. I love tilapia.

    ReplyDelete
  35. Kathleen...Thank you for the kind comment. Farm-raised Tilapia is another wonderful sustainable fish. Hope you enjoy it.

    ReplyDelete
  36. thanks for stopping by my blog! your stuff looks amazing. can't wait to check out your recipes.

    ReplyDelete
  37. Christina...With pleasure. I Look forward to more posts from you. Be well.

    ReplyDelete
  38. Hi...this is very interesting dish and you have decorated it so well, thanks for the visit ya....

    ReplyDelete
  39. TREAT AND TRICK...Thank you for stoppin by and commenting.

    ReplyDelete
  40. Wow, this is a perfect spring-summer dish! I love the pairing with the mango salad and peanut sauce.

    ReplyDelete
  41. Christina...Thanks you. It's great after a long run.

    ReplyDelete
  42. omg this looks just fab...love all the flavor

    sweetlife

    ReplyDelete
  43. Kitchen like life has practically no recipes, just guidelines and experiments.
    Lovely dish with a so beautiful presentation :)

    Have a great weekend,

    Gera

    ReplyDelete
  44. Gera @ SweetsFoodsBlog...100% agree. Kitchen life is creation and experimentation. Thank you for stopping by. Have a wonderful night.

    ReplyDelete
  45. Oh this looks delightful! I can't wait to give it a go. And congrats on your article in the paper! So exciting.

    Alex aka Ma What's For Dinner
    www.mawhats4dinner.com

    ReplyDelete
  46. Alex...Thank you for the kind words and support.

    ReplyDelete
  47. ӏ've been exploring for a bit for any high quality articles or weblog posts on this kind of house . Exploring in Yahoo I at last stumbled upon this site. Reading this information So i'm glad tо еxhibіt
    that І've a very just right uncanny feeling I found out exactly what I needed. I such a lot indubitably will make certain to don?t forget this web site and give it a glance regularly.
    My web site - http://ryanspaydayloans.co.uk/

    ReplyDelete

Have Your Say!