Oven Baked Catfish and Veggies – By Anthony Davies
Aussie anglers generally despise catfish. I cover this subject in more detail in this issue’s Featured Fish on page 18, suffice to say I believe this opinion is unjustified. The rest of the planet farms, catches and consumes catfish in huge quantities, indeed in Australia “Freshwater Basa” , a.k.a. farmed Mekong catfish, and “Silver Cobbler” , Lake Argyle forktail catfish, are very popular supermarket purchases.
Clean white boneless catfish fillets are usually at a perfect portion size and are very reasonably priced, so it was no surprise that our English house sitter Lydia bought Basa fillets to cook for our welcome home supper when the Bride and I returned from an overseas trip.
We have never tried Basa before, but we tucked into this nicely presented meal without prejudice and found it delicious, so much so that with Lydia’s permission I present the recipe here for potential catty consumers.
One skinned catfish fillet per person , approx 150 to 200 grams. Lydia used Basa, but large eeltail catfish (freshwater Jewfish in Queensland) or medium size forktail catfish would yield suitable fillets.
Breadcrumbs or cornmeal, seasoned with salt & black pepper
One lightly beaten egg
Olive oil spray
1 baby potato, 1/4 red capsicum, 2 cauliflower florets -the bits that look like little trees- 1/2 a carrot ,1 garlic clove and 1 small onion per person
Steamed or fried rice for presentation. Lydia steamed hers to perfection with a hint of spice, in our Lo Carb household we use instant packet rice for our rare rice requirements.
Preheat the oven to a moderate 350c
Line a shallow baking tray with baking paper and spray the paper with oil.
Pat the fillets dry with paper towels .
Dip each fillet in the beaten egg, allow the excess egg to drip back into the bowl for a few seconds, then toss the fillet in the crumbing mix till lightly coated. Lay each fillet on the oiled paper as you finish and spray the top side lightly with oil.
Cut the washed , unpeeled baby potatoes into quarters, and the onion and capsicum into similar sized pieces. Cut the carrot into slices and halve the cauliflower florets. Mince the garlic, add to the chopped veggies in a large bowl and spray well with oil. Season with salt and pepper to taste and combine well.
Arrange the oiled, seasoned veggies around the fillets on the baking paper
Bake for about 25 minutes, until the coating is golden and the fish fillets and potatoes are cooked through. Thicker fillets and bigger potato pieces may take a little longer. This dish will keep warm satisfactorily for quite a while.
Serve the fillets on a bed of rice with the veggies and a lemon wedge if desired.