Cornmeal Crusted Catfish with Heirloom Beans, Chow Chow and Tomato Gravy

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Ingredients

For the Catfish:

  • 4 (6 ounce) portions of Catfish (skinless)
  • 1 cup White Anson Mills Cornmeal, Fine
  • salt
  • cayenne
  • canola oil

For the beans:

  • 1 cup heirloom beans (Sea Island Red Peas, Reverend Taylor Butterbeans, Rice Peas or heirloom beans of your choice), soaked in water and refrigerated overnight, drained
  • 2 quarts stock (preferably pork, but chicken will work)
  • 1 medium onion, medium dice
  • 1 large carrot medium dice
  • 2 celery stalks, medium dice
  • 2 garlic cloves, peeled and sliced thin
  • 1 bay leaf
  • several twigs of thyme
  • 1/2 chopped jalapeño

For the Chow Chow:

  • Kosher salt
  • 3/4 pound butterbeans
  • 1 1/2 quarts apple cider vinegar with an acidity of at least 5%
  • 3/4 pound light brown sugar
  • 1 tablespoon yellow mustard seeds
  • 1 tablespoon turmeric
  • 1 1/2 teaspoons celery seeds
  • 1 1/2 teaspoons crushed red pepper flakes
  • 1 medium sweet onion, about 1 pound, cut in small dice
  • 2 red bell peppers, about 3/4 pound, cored and cut in small dice
  • 1 jalapeño pepper, seeded and minced
  • 1 small head cabbage, about 1 1/2 pounds, cored and cut in small dice
  • 3 green tomatoes, about 1 1/2 pounds, cored and cut in small dice
  • 1/2 cup prepared yellow mustard

For the Tomato Gravy:

  • 2 tablespoons bacon fat
  • 2 tablespoons Anson Mills Antebellum Fine White Cornmeal
  • 3 cups home-canned tomatoes, or canned San Marzano tomatoes
  • 1 tablespoon kosher salt
  • 1 tablespoon freshly cracked black pepper
Instructions

For the Catfish:

Heat a large sauté pan over high heat. When the pan is hot add 1/4 inch of canola oil. Season the fish with salt and cayenne. Dredge the fish in the cornmeal. Shake off any excess. When the oil shimmers add the filets skin side up. Do not shake the pan or touch the fish for one minute. Turn down the heat to medium high. Every couple of minutes peak under the fish. When it is golden brown, about 3-4 minutes turn it over and repeat the process. Remove from the pan and blot on a paper towel.

For the beans:

In a large stockpot, bring the stock to a simmer and add all ingredients. Cook for 1 hour over low heat, partially covered. When beans are tender, season with salt.

For the Chow Chow:

Bring a large pot of heavily salted water to a boil over high heat. Add the butterbeans and cook them for 4 minutes. Drain the butterbeans and spread them out on baking sheet to cool at room temperature.

Combine the vinegar and sugar in a large stainless steel or enamel pot over high heat and bring to a boil, stirring well to dissolve the salt and sugar. Reduce the heat to medium-high and cook the mixture for about 20 minutes, until it has reduced by half. Add the mustard seeds, turmeric, celery seeds, and pepper flakes and stir to combine well. Add the onions, bell peppers, jalapeño peppers, cabbage, and tomatoes and cook over medium-high heat, stirring occasionally, until tender, about 15 minutes.

Fold in the butterbeans and yellow mustard. Remove from the heat, place in a sterilized glass or stainless steel container, and cool to room temperature. Cover and refrigerate. Tightly covered, the chow-chow can keep for up to 1 week in the refrigerator.

For the Tomato Gravy:

Heat the bacon fat in a large nonreactive saucepan over high heat. Stir in the cornmeal with a wooden spoon. Reduce the heat to low and cook, constantly stirring, until the cornmeal turns a light brown color, about 5 minutes. Using your hands, crush the tomatoes into small bite-sized pieces. Add them to the pan and stir to combine. Increase the heat to medium, bring the gravy to a simmer, and cook it, stirring occasionally, for 10 minutes, until it is slightly thickened and the cornmeal is soft. Be careful that it is not sticking or scorching. Add the salt and pepper. Hold warm on low heat for up to 1 hour.

Recipes © copyright 2012 Sean Brock.

Categories: 
BeansFish/Seafood
Yield: 
4 servings
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