Fried Jerked Catfish from Post & Beam

Time1 hour
Fried Jerked Catfish from Post & Beam
(Christina House / Los Angeles Times)
Print RecipePrint Recipe

Spicy, intensely flavored jerk seasoning takes especially well to catfish fillets, like these served at Post & Beam restaurant in Baldwin Hills. Use fresh catfish fillets if you can find them, but if not, frozen, thawed fillets work just as well. You can also use tilapia, flounder, trout, or any other thin fillet of white fish.

For the breading
For the marinade
For the herb sauce

Make the breading: In a food processor, combine the breadcrumbs and cornmeal and pulse until the breadcrumbs are finely ground. Transfer the crumbs to a large bowl, add the flour, cornstarch, thyme, pepper and cayenne, and whisk to combine.


Marinate the catfish: In a spice grinder, combine the allspice and peppercorns, then process until finely ground. Transfer to a food processor along with the salt, thyme and nutmeg; then, add the scallions, onions, garlic and both chiles. Process until all the aromatics are pureed as smoothly as possible. Scrape the aromatics into a large bowl and stir in the soy sauce, brown sugar, ginger and olive oil. Add the catfish fillets, toss to coat evenly in the marinade, then cover with plastic wrap. Refrigerate the catfish for at least 2 hours and up to 4 hours.


Make the herb sauce: In a medium bowl, combine the parsley, oregano, shallots and chiles. Using a Microplane grater, grate the garlic into the bowl with the herbs. Pour in the olive oil, vinegar and lemon juice and stir to combine. Season the sauce with salt and pepper and refrigerate until ready to serve. The sauce can be made up to 2 days in advance.


Pour enough oil into a large Dutch oven or deep-fat fryer to come 2 inches up the side. Attach a deep-fry thermometer to the side of the pot and heat the oil to 300 degrees over medium-high heat (or heat the deep-fat fryer to 300).


Working in batches, lift the catfish fillets from the marinade, gently wiping off as much as possible; then, dredge them in the breadcrumb-cornmeal mixture until evenly coated. Lay them in the hot oil and fry, turning once halfway through cooking, until golden brown, 2 to 4 minutes. Using tongs or a spider, transfer the catfish to a wire rack, and season with salt while hot.


To serve, transfer the catfish to plates and top with spoonfuls of the herb sauce.