Last week, I saw a tweet from Freshfully announcing the arrival of local, farm-raised Alabama catfish. It was just the dish I had in mind, so the next day I made a quick trip to the new local foods shop in Avondale and picked up a pound of catfish, a pound of wild-caught Gulf shrimp, one pattypan squash, a handful of green beans, a couple of cucumbers, and a bag of homemade granola, all locally-grown or produced.
Here’s what I did with some of these delicious, fresh ingredients:
Fried Pattypan Squash
I already had a bag of McEwen & Son organic, stone ground cornmeal on hand. McEwen & Son grow the corn and grind the meal in nearby Wilsonville, Alabama. First, I sliced the pattypan squash, dredged it in some buttermilk and then tossed with a bit of the cornmeal.
While the fish baked (see below), I fried the squash in about 2 tablespoons of canola oil, just long enough to brown the light cornmeal crust.
Baked, Cornmeal-Crusted Catfish
Preheat oven to 375 F.
To make the crush for the catfish I mixed about 3/4 cup of cornmeal with a tiny bit of salt, fresh ground black pepper, 1 tablespoon of ground red cayenne pepper, 1-2 teaspoons of garlic powder and a dash of paprika.
I added a bit more buttermilk to the bowl I’d used for the squash and added a good bit of fresh-ground black pepper.
I dredged the catfish in the buttermilk and then in the cornmeal mixture so that each fish fillet had a nice coating of the buttermilk-cornmeal mixture on each side.
The dredging process is a bit messy, so I don’t have photos. Just dip the catfish into buttermilk and then into the dry cornmeal mixture. It’s easy.
I sprayed a cast iron skillet with nonstick canola oil spray, added the fish to the skillet and baked for about 12 minutes on one side. Removed from oven, turned the catfish over and baked for another 8 minutes or so until the fish was flaking easily. The fillets were pretty thick, so it took a bit longer than I had anticipated to bake, even in the cast iron skillet. Here’s the finished dish, in the skillet, baked with no oil except the nonstick spray.
If catfish isn’t available you could make this with any light white fish and bake in any type of oven-safe pan or casserole dish. The cast iron is my favorite because it has nonstick properties due to the seasoned cast iron. When used with the nonstick spray, there’s no need to add extra oil.
Steamed Green Beans
While the fish was baking and the squash was frying, I snapped the beans and tossed into a saucepan with a steamer tray and steamed the beans for about 5 minutes.
Dinner Is Served
I enjoyed this meal immensely. The grape tomatoes were from my garden. I rinsed and tossed in balsamic vinegar, along with some onion slices and a bit of feta cheese. The cucumber slices had been soaking in a bit of white vinegar and ground red pepper during cooking. In addition to the lemon seasoning, I used a Louisiana Brand Hot Sauce for seasoning. (Yes, I like my food on the spicy side).
The great thing about this meal is that it’s very healthy and low-calorie, except for the fried pattypan squash. Rather than breading and frying squash (which I do only a few times each summer), you could dice and saute the squash or even steam it.