5.23.2011

Quick Fish Dinner for Busy Summer Nights - Recipe



There are some nights when there just isn't time to make enchiladas or bake a loaf of bread. On those nights we make one of our quick dinners. This is one of my favorite standbys: grilled breaded fish with baked potato and peas. It's a simple and delicious meal and perhaps one of the healthiest on our regular menu.

Let's talk about fish. I love seafood, however after living in Panama and seeing the over fishing and destruction of ecosystem that is taking place to feed our appetites I have sworn off seafood including shrimp, salmon and tuna (which is a shame because they are all tasty).  Now I choose farm raised fish.

Our standby is catfish. I know a lot of people are hesitant because it is a very "fishy" fish. However, if you get it fresh and cook it right, it is delicious. I was just at Chicago Botanic Garden's Summer Chef Series. At the demo the chef made grilled catfish tacos. I'll have to try out his recipe and let you know how it goes. It looked delicious, fast and easy! I'm always looking for new ways to enjoy fish. 


For this recipe, I use a very simple preparation of the catfish. I buy one large fillet of catfish for the two of us. It is usually between one third and one half pound. I cut it into chunks so it cooks faster. Then it is breaded with a homemade flour and cornbread dredge and cooked on a Foreman, counter top type grill. It only takes about ten minutes. The juice and oils in the fish give the breading a nice crisp texture that has a crunch when you bite into it. 

You could definitely do this on an outdoor grill or broil it in the oven. I like the Foreman because it is easy to clean and doesn't heat up the house. Plus we live in an apartment with no balcony and it's a pain to take the grill in and out especially when time is short.
 
I pre-bake the potatoes in the microwave for about six minutes to speed up the process. I'm not a huge fan of microwaves, but if there is one thing they are good at, it is getting food hot quickly. I always make sure to poke some holes in the potato before microwaving. My mother did this and from what I recall it keeps the potato from exploding. Non-exploding potatoes are always a good thing. Once pre-baked put the potatoes in a 350 degree oven for ten to fifteen minutes to finish them off.

That just leaves the peas. We use a glass dish to microwave two cups of frozen peas for about five minutes or until piping hot. Then put the potato, peas and fish all together and dinner is served.

This is a great little meal and you can alter it easily. Sometimes we opt for sweet potatoes and sometimes we do broccoli or corn on the cob instead of peas. You can switch up the fish to suit your tastes as well.

What are your favorite quick meals?


Breaded Catfish with Baked Potatoes and Peas for Two

1 fillet of catfish (about 9 ounces)
1 cup breading (1/2 cup flour, 1/2 cup corn meal, 1/4 teaspoon seasoned salt, 1/4 teaspoon chipotle and 1/4 teaspoon pepper)
4 medium potatoes (we buy organic which always seem to be much smaller than chemically grown potatoes)
2 cups of peas
  1. Start by prebaking the potatoes. Poke a couple holes in them with a knife and then microwave them for six minutes. Meanwhile preheat the oven to 350 degrees.
     
  2. Cut the catfish into chunks and dredge it through the breading. Then pop it on the Foreman grill for about 10 minutes or until a nice golden brown. You will have lots of leftover breading mixture. Just save it in a sealed container in the freezer until the next time you need it.
     
  3. Pull the potatoes out of the microwave and put them into the oven on a cookie sheet to finish baking. 
     
  4. Heat the green peas in the microwave until steaming; about five minutes.
     
  5. Pull the baked potatoes out and plate the fish and peas with them. That's it; your meal is ready to eat. Easy-peasy!
Nutrition:  The information below was calculated using Spark People's Recipe Calculator for one serving based of two medium potatoes, one cup of peas, 4.5 oz of catfish and a half tablespoon of butter.  You've got to have a little butter on the potatoes, right?

13 comments:

  1. Ahh, this sounds light and tasty. I have a couple of comments!
    First, Monterey Bay Aquarium has a downloadable pocket guide that you can slip into your wallet to see which fish from where are the most sustainable choices: http://www.montereybayaquarium.org/cr/cr_seafoodwatch/download.aspx

    Second, my mom always told me that if fish starts to smell a little "fishy" you should soak it in milk for awhile (maybe 15-30 minutes). It won't work on really stinky fish, but if there is a mild smell it does seem to neutralize it a bit. Then just pat it dry and season as usual.

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  2. This is going to sound crazy but I have never thought to cook fish on a grill like that. I don't know why it never crossed my mind. Thanks for the inspiration!

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  3. I've been using my Foreman as a panini press...but have never thought to use it for fish! What a great idea! Your fish looks so crunchy...and peas and baked potatoes are a staple of my diet! Nice, easy summer meal. Thanks for sharing it! : )

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  4. This looks delicious and great idea using the Foreman grill! Definitely perfect for a quick meal!

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  5. What a great idea!! I would never think to use the Foreman grill, such a great idea to do that. I just gotta try that, thanks so much for posting this!

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  6. I love catfish,but i like to serve it with sweet potato,yum!

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  7. Hi Foy. I'm an environmental attorney up in Alaska, and I like to think I know a little something about eating environmentally friendly products, including fish (though I'm no expert). Eating farm raised fish is NOT an environmentally friendly choice. It's like a large feeding operation that you see on farms in Illinois and Indiana (I grew up in Illinois). Concentrated biomass anywhere = a sad environment. It's MUCH better to eat sustainably caught, non-farmed fish, like Alaskan caught salmon, halibut, and cod. Or really, most anywhere where there is strong regulation of the fisheries (unlike in Panama, Japan, etc.) Just my totally unsolicited two cents. :) If sustainably caught fish is too hard to come by in Indiana, maybe I'll mail you some I caught and froze myself!

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  8. I love everything about the sound of this dish. I really enjoy a clean and simple fish dinner. It makes up for all those heavy meals that seem to bog me down. Thanks for sharing

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  9. YUm! This sounds delicious!

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  10. This looks yummy and healthy! I love catfish!

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  11. Anonymous5/31/2011

    I love simple recipes. This one looks fabulous!
    Dawn
    Florida Coastal Cooking

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    http://yummytummy-aarthi.blogspot.com/2011/05/chocolate-recipe-and-chocolate.html

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  13. Very nice...George Foreman grill ROCKS on busy dinner nights!

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