Fried catfish is an American staple--firm fleshed and crisply coated. Perhaps that was the best way to disguise the slightly muddy taste of the fish. Now that most supermarket catfish is farm-raised, the flavor is more delicate and cooking techniques can be lighter.
Broiling catfish brings out its sweet taste. A light glaze of honey, mustard, butter and ginger enhances the fish without overwhelming it.
The traditional catfish accompaniment can undergo a similar transformation--from the traditional fried hush puppy to an ethereal batter that results in a melt-in-the-mouth biscuit. It's not low-fat, since there's plenty of cream in the recipe, but it doesn't have the heavy feeling of deep-fried foods.
HONEY-MUSTARD GLAZED CATFISH
1 1/2 tablespoons butter, melted
1 tablespoon Dijon mustard
1 1/2 tablespoons honey
1/2 teaspoon ground ginger
1/2 teaspoon salt
Freshly ground white pepper
2 (5- to 6-ounce) catfish fillets
Stir together butter, mustard, honey, ginger, salt and white pepper to taste in bowl.
Place catfish on foil-lined broiler pan. Spread generously with mustard glaze. Broil 4 inches from heat 6 to 10 minutes, or until fish is done, basting once. It isn't necessary to turn fish over. Serve with lemon wedges. Makes 2 servings.
1 cup plus 1 tablespoon flour
1/2 teaspoon salt
1 1/2 teaspoons baking powder
1 teaspoon sugar
1/2 cup plus 1 to 3 tablespoons whipping cream
1 tablespoon butter
Combine 1 cup flour, salt, baking powder and sugar in mixing bowl. Stir to combine. Add 1/2 cup cream, adding additional cream as necessary to form slightly sticky ball. Flour work surface with remaining 1 tablespoon flour and knead dough gently 1 minute. Pat into 6x4-inch rectangle, 1/2-inch thick. Cut into 3 (2-inch) rectangles.
Meanwhile, place medium-size baking sheet in 425-degree oven. When ready to bake biscuits, remove baking sheet from oven. Add butter and allow to melt. Place each rectangle in butter, turning over to coat both sides. Arrange rectangles 1/2 inch apart on baking sheet. Bake at 425 degrees until light golden brown, 15 minutes. Makes 3 biscuits.