Catfish Courtbouillon

Anything Cajun is my all time favorite! Pretty sure it's because of the smoky/spicy flavor but I will make anything 'Cajun' if I have the opportunity to!

This past week I went to New Orleans for Essence Festival for work and the food experience I had while down there was one word - AMAZING! I probably gained 10 pounds from eating anything in site but YOLO!

I love everything about New Orleans! This was my third time being in NOLA but this was the first time I experienced the essence of what is New Orleans. Although we were all working like crazy during the day at our Essence activation's and never mind how I got a tad sick from heat exhaustion ( My liquid diet was mostly Hurricane's and NOT water) overall the experience was pretty amazing. 

The restaurant that really stuck out to me from this trip was this Cajun & Southern Cooking Restaurant called Cochon. I promise you, if you are ever in the New Orleans area please stop by this spot! Cochon, which is a french word means, Domestic Pig. I'm Puerto Rican so I was all over this spot! The waiter suggested Catfish Courtbouillon AKA Creole Catfish to the locals - which I didn't even try to pronounce, but it sounded amazing! Courtbouillon is a tomato based sauce with lots of onions, green peppers, celery, garlic and of course the Cajun seasoning to give it its flava! You can use the sauce with any type of fish and it is typically always served over rice. This dish was INCREDIBLE - from the flaky catfish to the spicy tomato sauce, I literally ate the entire thing and dipped bread in the sauce. 

I really couldn't get it out of my head so as me and the rest of my co-workers were coming back from the concert on Saturday night (MARY J. BLIGE & CHAKA KHAN PERFORMED!!!!) I was having a 'drunken' conversation with our Uber driver and asked her the recipe. In her sweetest New Orleans accent, she told me she couldn't give it to me because it's a secret but she ultimately did and advised me to use as much Cajun seasoning as possible - Heart her!

So when I got back to DC, I knew I had to make this dish to satisfy my New Orleans cravings. Once again, I looked over Pinterest and compared recipes online and to what she told me and remixed it so I wasn't in the kitchen for hours. It was fairly easy to make and it was my first time frying catfish and if I do say so myself, it came out PRETTY DAMN GOOD!

Try the recipe below!

- 2 medium catfish filets

- 1 medium sized onion (chopped)

- 2 large stalks celery (chopped)

- 1 green Bell Pepper (chopped)

- 3 cloves of garlic (minced)

- 4 ripe tomatoes (cut in half and then cubed)

- 1/4 cup parsley (chopped)

- 1/2 stick of butter

- 1 cup of chicken stock

- 2 tablespoons Louisiana Crystal Hot Sauce 

- LOT & LOTS of Cajun Seasoning (season to your liking)

- Salt & Pepper to taste

- 1 cup of white rice

- 1/2 cup of cornmeal (to sprinkle on the catfish)

Once you have all of your veggies cut, first saute the onions, celery and green peppers in some EVOO over medium heat for about 5 minutes before adding the tomatoes and garlic. After adding the tomatoes and garlic let that simmer for 20 minutes allowing the tomatoes to cook down and let the juices come out. In between that 20 minutes, add salt & pepper, TONS of Cajun seasoning and a couple of splashes of Crystal's Hot Sauce. Let it all simmer until the tomatoes are cooked down and all the veggies are soft then add in the chicken stock. Once again, letting that simmer for another 10 minutes and tasting in between to make sure it's seasoned to your liking. Towards the end before you are getting ready to plate your dish add in the half of stick of butter and a handful of chopped parsley - mix all together. 

As you are letting the Creole Sauce simmer to perfection, start preparing your filet of catfish. For this dish, since the sauce is so flavorful, I went light on the seasoning of the catfish. I just lightly seasoned it with salt & pepper and tossed it in cornmeal to give it some crunch. In a large cast iron skillet heat some vegetable oil on high heat. Once the oil is hot (note- flick some water in the oil and if it pops, the oil is ready), place your catfish in the skillet and fry on each side for about two minutes until the catfish is golden brown!

Once everything is ready serve it up over a piping hot bowl of white rice and don't skimp on the Creole Sauce - POUR IT ALL OVER!!

Cheers to eating!!