A couple of weeks ago I made blackened catfish which I loved so much, I wanted to have it again. This time I spotted some farmed basa which the fishmonger explained was a milder Asian variety of catfish. The fillets had a pearly white flesh with a lovely pink hue. I grabbed a pound to try out.
For this wonderful make ahead dish, I prepared the basa the same way I prepared the blackened catfish, but when the fish was cooked, I took it one step further. I deglazed the skillet with a mixture of white wine and white wine vinegar which I poured over the blackened basa, then set aside. The spicy fillets in the sour marinade were amazing! I will be making this again with either catfish or basa!
1 large clove garlic
1 1/2 tbsp butter
1 1/2 tsp sweet paprika
1 tsp cumin
1/2 tsp freshly ground black pepper
1/2 tsp salt
1/2 tsp dried thyme
1/4-1/2 tsp cayenne, to taste
1 lb basa (or catfish) fillets, about 4 small fillets
1/2-1 tsp olive oil
2/3 cup dry white wine
1/3 cup white wine vinegar
Press the garlic clove through a garlic press, catching any juices into a small microwave safe bowl.
Add the butter and microwave until the butter has melted. Set aside.
Combine the paprika, cumin, pepper, salt, thyme and cayenne. Set aside.
Heat a large cast iron skillet (this is the preferred utensil, but I used a large non-stick skillet instead) over high heat. Coat the pan evenly with the olive oil. I do this with a paper towel, using only the tiniest amount.
Fry the fish, placing the fillets (buttered and seasoned side down) into the hot skillet. Cook for about 2-3 minutes until the edges become opaque. Turn the fillets over and cook for another minute or until the fish flakes easily and is done. Place the basa into a non reactive dish about 8 inches square with sides at least 1 inch high.
Lower the heat and pour the wine and vinegar into the skillet. Deglaze the pan by gently scraping the browned bits into the liquid. Allow the mixture to come to a boil, then pour it over the blackened basa fillets.
When the basa reaches room temperature, cover the fish with plastic wrap, smoothing it down directly over the surface so that the liquid reaches the top. Refrigerate for several hours, up to overnight.
Serve it cold or at room temperature.
I served it with sliced mango and cooked rice I cooled to room temperature and fluffed up with a fork. Yum!