Thursday, March 10, 2011

Pan-Roasted Sustainable Catfish with Black Beans

This post originally appeared on Patty's Food Blog as a guest post by me in October of 2010.  I am bringing it back here because I love the dish and talking sustainable fish.


I am a fervent supporter of organics and sustainable foods. Today I would like to chat with you about sustainable fish. The conditions of our oceans and waterways are poor. Species of fish are disappearing due to overfishing and habitat destruction. Do we really want future generations to deal with environmental disaster, or not to be able to enjoy a wonderful fish like, Patagonian Toothfish, because we overfished it into oblivion? That’s the actual name of a fish that you may only know by its clever trade name…Chilean Sea Bass.

So how can we make a change? First get educated, don’t take my word for it, there are many wonderful online educational sites. Such as…

Monterey Bay Aquarium
Sea Web

Then choose to cast a vote for sustainable fish every time you scan something at the check out counter. If you eat seafood, your purchasing dollars make a clear statement on what you stand for.

US farm-raised catfish is one of our greatest sustainable fish. The fish tastes great, cooks up well, and is economical. What more could one ask for? Today I am paring it with black beans and blanched vegetables.

Black Beans, Edamame, Snap Beans, Organic Edible Roses

Pan-Roasted Catfish Fillet

Mascarpone, Lime Zest, Daikon Sprouts

Pan-Roasted Catfish with Black Beans

For the Black Beans:
Olive oil
1 yellow onion – small dice
Cubanelle pepper
1 leek – (white & light green parts only)
1 fennel bulb – small dice
1 shallot – minced
2 garlic cloves – minced

Sea salt
White pepper
Ground cumin
2 tbs tomato paste
350 ml Albarino Spanish white wine
2 bay leaf
Fresh Oregano – chopped
Fresh Culantro – chopped

In a stockpot, heat the olive oil over medium heat. Add the onion and peppers. Sweat until soft. Add the fennel and leeks. Cook for a few minutes. Add the shallots and garlic. Season with salt, pepper and cumin. Cook for a few minutes. Make a well in the center add the tomato paste. Brown the tomato paste with the veggies. Add the wine. Reduce by half. Add the black beans. Add enough water to cover the beans. Season again with salt, pepper and cumin. Add the bay leaf. Reduce until desired consistency. Take off the heat. Remove bay leaf and add in the fresh herbs.

Note: I add a generous splash of Pedro Ximenez Spanish sherry vinegar for an acidic punch.

For the Catfish:
Canola oil
Catfish fillets
Wondra flour
Sea salt
White pepper

Heat 1/8 inch of oil in a heavy bottom pan over medium-high heat. Season the fish on both sides with flour, salt, and pepper. When the pan is very hot, add the fish, skinned side down. Hold the fish down for 30 seconds to maximize contact with the pan. Cook for 2 minutes. Using a fish slice, gently turn the fish over and briefly cook for 30 seconds. Remove the fish to a wire rack to cool, SKINNED SIDE UP!

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


  1. Never had catfish... this looks alot better than anything I have ever seen plated... wonderful soup!

  2. Excellent post! I do eat fish/seafood on occasion and I do always try to be responsible in this area. Your dish is just bursting with flavor, color and texture.

  3. I am so with you on this. When I see the folks in SanFrancisco complaining because they can't eat their shark's fin soup... you have to wonder, 90% of our sharks are gone... they rip them off and toss them in the ocean wasting the rest of the animal... is it worth it??? What will we do when the ocean is dead?

    Delicious dish!! I am so loving the lime mascarpone!

  4. I so loved this post, the photos are gorgeous and the recipe so well balanced in flavors, textures and colors. It's like an oldie but a goodie, solid gold-top 100 hit parade, whoops, I'm really dating myself. Oh well, it's kind of nice to comment here, you never fully appreciate something until it's taken away,lol:-0

  5. Excellent, excellent. We can never shout this message of sustainable ocean bounty enough, so lovin' the message here Lazz.
    Mmmm, catfish huh.... we have a fresh water fish called catfish., must investigate if its similar., love the sound of this I do.

  6. Perfect healthy balance in this dish, Lazaro. Makes a striking presentation as well. I love it when food looks as good as it tastes AND is sustainable to boot.
    Excellent post!

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