The Votes Are
In: Catfish Makes a Winning Dinner
BY DANA JACOBI
FOR THE AMERICAN INSTITUTE FOR CANCER RESEARCH
- Bringing the country together
was a major bipartisan theme during the long Presidential election
process. This weeks recipe brings the message to your plate
by uniting culinary favorites from around the country
a Southern staple, dressed up with a hint of California cuisine
that embraces the colorful palate of an East Coast autumn.
- Catfish is a Southern classic,
particularly served pan-fried in a golden cornmeal crust. Eating
it brings back fond memories of the first cornmeal-crusted fish
I enjoyed flounder that I caught while fishing with my
father on Long Island Sound. They were too small to fillet, so
my mother dredged the whole fish in cornmeal and crisped them
in her cast iron skillet.
- For pan-frying, nothing beats
the even heat of cast iron, although any heavy frying pan will
do. And worry not about the term fry as this recipe
uses just enough healthful oil to produce a golden-brown, crunchy
exterior. Even better news: The crisp outside envelops lean,
sustainably raised catfish, a choice recommended by major environmental
groups as ecologically safe.
- The slaw that accompanies
this recipe was inspired by the one served at Bakesale Bettys
in Oakland, California. It serves as a perfect example of California
fusion cooking a mixture of wide ribbons of garden-crisp
cabbage with a light, French-style vinaigrette dressing and just
enough fresh jalapeño pepper to make your mouth sizzle.
Best served ice-cold, the slaw is at its finest soon after you
make it. If you do not like heat, feel free to substitute a green
bell pepper for the jalapeños.
- The cabbage and peppers are
rich in disease-fighting phytochemicals, while stone ground cornmeal
offers a source of whole grains. Yellow cornmeal contains the
antioxidant beta-carotene, as well, which white cornmeal lacks.
Lastly, the catfish contains a source of heart-healthy omega-3
fat, adding to the nutritional benefits of the meal.
- This colorful
dinner combines contrasting textures and bold flavors that are
comforting and healthy. In short, just what we need right now
in our country and on our plates.
Catfish with Mexican Pumpkin Seed Sauce - Makes 4 servings.
- 1/4 cup raw, shelled pumpkin
- 1/2 small white onion, sliced
- 2 garlic cloves, chopped
- 1/4 lb. tomatillos, husked
and coarsely chopped
- 1 jalapeño pepper,
seeded and chopped
- 1/2 cup lightly packed cilantro
- 1/4 tsp. dried oregano, preferably
- 1/4 tsp. dried thyme
- 1 (6-inch) yellow corn tortilla,
torn in 1/2 pieces
- 1 cup fat-free reduced sodium
chicken broth, divided
- 1 Tbsp. canola oil
- Salt and ground black pepper
- Four (4-ounce) catfish filets
- Cooking spray
- 2 cups cooked brown rice
In a dry skillet, toast the
pumpkin seeds over medium heat, stirring constantly, until they
are golden and many have swelled or popped. Take care not to
let them brown. Spread the toasted seeds on a plate and cool.
Preheat the oven to 450 degrees.
Place the pumpkin seeds, onion, garlic, tomatillos, jalapeño,
cilantro, oregano, thyme and tortilla in a blender. Pour in half
the broth, and whirl to the smoothest possible puree, adding
more broth if needed. Heat 1 tablespoon of the oil in a medium
skillet over medium-high heat. Add the pumpkin seed mixture,
standing back as it will splatter. Cook, stirring occasionally,
until it boils and darkens in color, 3 to 4 minutes. Add the
remaining broth, reduce the heat, and simmer until there is 1
cup of sauce, about 8 minutes. Season to taste with salt and
pepper. Set aside.
Coat a shallow baking dish
with cooking spray. Arrange the filets on the pan, coat the fish
well with cooking spray and season lightly with salt and pepper.
Bake, uncovered, until the fish is opaque in the center and flakes
with a fork, about 10 minutes, depending on the thickness of
To serve, place a piece of
fish on each of 4 plates. Spoon one-fourth of the sauce over
the fish. Add 1/2 cup rice alongside.
Per serving: 341 calories, 15 g. total fat (2 g.
saturated fat), 31 g. carbohydrate, 21 g. protein, 3 g. dietary
fiber, 179 mg. sodium.
"Something Different" is written for the American Institute
for Cancer Research (AICR) by Dana Jacobi, author of The Joy
of Soy and recipe creator for AICR's Stopping Cancer Before It
The American Institute for Cancer Research
(AICR) offers a Nutrition
Hotline online at www.aicr.org
or via phone 9 a.m. to 5 p.m. ET, MondayFriday, at 1-800-843-8114.
This free service allows you to ask questions about diet, nutrition
and cancer. A registered dietitian will respond to your email
or call, usually within 3 business days. AICR is the only major
cancer charity focusing exclusively on how the risk of cancer
is reduced by healthy food and nutrition, physical activity and
weight management. The Institutes education programs help
millions of Americans lower their cancer risk. AICR also supports
innovative research in cancer prevention and treatment at universities,
hospitals and research centers across the U.S. Over $82 million
in funding has been provided. AICR is a member of the World Cancer
Research Fund International.