Catfish Gumbo

Catfish Gumbo

A catfish gumbo is one of the simplest and most satisfying ways to prepare fish — enough to warm the heart after a difficult day. No more need be said, except to invite friends.

*Chef Lucia Watson owns and operates Lucia's, one of Minneapolis, Minnesota's, most distinctive restaurants (1432 West 31st Street, 612/825-1572).

Ingredients

1/2 lb. bacon, diced


1 c. each onion, celery, green pepper, and red pepper, diced


1 tsp. garlic, chopped


1/2 tsp. each white pepper, thyme, and oregano

1/8 tsp. cayenne (or to taste)

8 c. chicken broth


1 lb. smoked sausage, sliced 3/4 inch thick on a bias

1 lb. fish, one-inch cubes

â–  Sauté bacon and reserve. Heat the bacon fat until it just begins to smoke, then add an equal amount of flour. Whisk until the mixture (roux) turns the color of a brown paper bag.


â–  Add onion, celery, green pepper, red pepper, garlic, cayenne, white pepper, thyme, oregano, the reserved bacon, and chicken broth. Cook gently for 15 minutes.

â–  Add the smoked sausage and fish. Simmer gently for about seven minutes. Season with salt and pepper and serve garnished with cooked white rice.

â–  Better grades of catfish make a better gumbo. But a gumbo also gives equal time to other fish catfish anglers might catch, like stripers and sheepshead. It's also a good opportunity to use frozen catfish.

Baked Catfish with Jalapeno, Tomato & Garlic, Guacamole, and Refried Black Beans

A sure winner with catfish, this recipe also performs well with walleye, pike, bass, and large crappies. For less fire, substitute sweet peppers for the jalapenos.
-----Two 6- to 8-ounce fillets-----
- 1 Roma tomato, diced
- 1/4 onion, minced
- 2 jalapeno chilies, cut into rounds
- 2 tbsp. cilantro, minced
- salt and pepper to taste
- 2 tbsp. olive oil
- 2 tbsp. lime juice
- 2 garlic cloves, mashed
- 1 tbsp. tequila (optional)
'¢ Combine all ingredients except catfish. Place catfish on a lightly greased baking sheet and spoon the tomato chili mixture over each catfish. Bake at 350°F for about 15 minutes or until the flesh is opaque and flaky. Serve with black beans and guacamole.
-----Guacamole-----
- 2 ripe avocados, peeled and pitted
- 2 cloves garlic, mashed
- juice of lime
- 1 small tomato, finely minced
- 1/2 onion, finely minced
- few drops olive oil
- a pinch each of salt and pepper
'¢ Mash all of the ingredients together. Adjust salt and pepper to taste.
-----Refried Black Beans-----
- 2 c. or one can cooked black beans
- 2 cloves garlic, mashed
- 1/2 onion, minced
- 1 tbsp. bacon fat or olive oil
- 1/2 tsp. ground cumin
- 1/2 tsp. ground chili powder
- salt (about a tsp.)
'¢ Heat the olive oil or bacon fat in a skillet. Add the onion and garlic; cook until translucent over medium heat, about 5 minutes. Add the beans and cook, mashing the beans against the skillet with a fork or spatula so they become sort of mushy, but most of the liquid is cooked out. Add water if they seem dry. Add the seasonings and taste.
Serves two.

Catfish & Potato Stew With Herbed Biscuits

Chef Lucia Watson promises this is an easy one, although it takes a little time. You can also substitute any nice white-fleshed fish such as walleye, pike, or bass.
- 1 tbsp. butter
- 2 strips bacon, cut small
- 1 med. onion, med. dice
- 2 stalks celery with leaves, med. dice
- 2 carrots, med. dice
- 3 cloves garlic, minced
- 4 med. potatoes, med. dice
- 1 1⁄2 tsp. dry or 1 tbsp. fresh thyme
- 2 tbsp. flour
- 2 c. chicken stock
- 2 c. milk
- 1 c. heavy cream
- 1/4 c. dry white wine
- dash Tabasco
- salt and pepper to taste
- 1 lb. walleye cut into 1-inch pieces
- juice of 1/2 lemon
- 2 tbsp. parsley, finely chopped
'¢ Place the butter and bacon in a heavy saucepan. Cook over medium heat until the bacon starts to brown.
'¢ Add the onion, carrot, celery, garlic, thyme, and potatoes and cook covered, stirring often, for about 10 minutes.
'¢ Add the flour and cook 2 to 3 more minutes. Add the chicken stock, milk, cream, wine, Tabasco, salt and pepper.
'¢ Cook the stew uncovered, stirring often for about 25 to 30 minutes or until the potatoes are tender.
'¢ Toss the walleye with the lemon and parsley and gently stir into the stew. Cook another 10 to 12 minutes, stirring gently until the walleye is tender. Serve at once in big bowls with herb biscuits.
-----Herb biscuits-----
- 2 c. flour
- 1 tbsp. baking powder
- 1/2 tsp. salt
- 1/4 cup sugar
- 2 tbsp. mixed fresh herbs, chopped (parsley, chives, dill)
- 2 c. heavy cream
'¢ Preheat oven to 350°F.
'¢ Combine the flour, ­baking powder, salt, herbs, and sugar in a mixing bowl.
'¢ With mixer on low (or by hand), slowly add the cream and mix only until just combined.
'¢ Drop by tablespoons onto a greased cookie sheet. Bake about 15 minutes (depending on biscuit size) or until golden and tender. Serve at once.
Serves four.

Catfish With Chili Cornmeal Crust & Sweet-pepper, Corn and Bacon Relish

In-Fisherman friend Chef Lucia Watson reports this is a popular recipe at Lucia's, sometimes served around the opening of walleye season. While the eatery does the dish with walleye then, it makes a great catfish recipe, too. Watson notes the sweet pepper, corn, and bacon relish is a classic with any fried fish, particularly during summer, when corn and peppers are fresh and super-sweet. Horseradish Sour Cream Sauce is another good choice.
- 2 fillets, about 8 oz. each, rinsed in cold water and patted dry
- 1/2 c. cornmeal
- 1/2 c. flour
- 1/4 tsp. chili powder
- 1/2 c. fresh lemon juice
- salt and pepper
- 2 tbsp. vegetable oil or bacon fat or an inch of oil in a deeper pan for deep frying
'¢ Combine cornmeal, flour, chili powder, salt, and pepper. Dip each fillet in lemon juice then the cornmeal mixture, carefully dusting each side of the fillets.
'¢ Heat the fat in a heavy-bottomed skillet until it just starts to smoke. Put the fillets in the fat and cook about 5 minutes until golden brown.
'¢ Turn fillets and continue to cook about 5 minutes on the other side. If deep frying, cook the fillets without turning, about 7 to 8 minutes or until golden brown.
'¢ Remove fish to plate and garnish with the warm sweet relish.
-----Sweet Pepper, Corn & Bacon Relish-----
- 1/2 each green, red, and yellow pepper, seeded and diced, about 2 c. total
- 1 small red onion, diced
- 3 slices bacon, finely diced
- 2 ears corn (slice kernels off cobs), about 2 c.
- 1 tbsp. fresh thyme
- 1 tbsp. fresh chives
'¢ Place bacon in a heavy-bottomed saucepan. Cook until the fat starts to render and the bacon gets crispy.
'¢ Immediately add peppers, onion and corn. Cook over high heat stirring constantly, until the veggies are still crispy but warmed through.
'¢ Add herbs and taste for final seasoning.
-----Horseradish Sour Cream Sauce-----
- 1 c. sour cream
- 2 heaping tbsp. prepared horseradish
-juice of 1/2 lemon
- salt and pepper
'¢ Mix all ingredients.
Serves one or two.

Chili Dusted Catfish

Rave reviews are a cinch with this easy recipe from Chef Lucia Watson, who notes that a dollop of sour cream sprinkled with chili or paprika, plus a little parsley goes along well with this combination of flavors.
- 2 tsp. paprika
- 1 tsp. chili powder
- 2 tsp. salt
- 1/2 tsp. cayenne
- 1/4 c. buttermilk (or whole milk)
- 1 egg
- pinch sugar
- 1/2 c. dry bread crumbs
- 2 catfish fillets
'¢ Preheat oven to 400°F.
'¢ Lightly grease a cookie sheet.
'¢ Mix together the spices.
'¢ In a shallow bowl, beat together the buttermilk, eggs, and sugar.
'¢ One at a time, dip each fillet in the spice mixture, then the buttermilk mixture, and then the bread crumbs. Place each fillet on the prepared cookie sheet.
'¢ Bake the fish until cooked through, about 12 to 14 minutes. Serve with the cumin rice.
-----Cumin rice-----
- 1 tbsp. butter
- 1 tbsp. minced garlic
- 1 tsp. ground cumin
- 1/2 tsp. dry oregano
- 1 c. long grain rice
- 2 c. chicken stock or water
- 1 tsp. salt
- 1/2 tsp. pepper
- 1/4 c. minced scallion
- 1 tsp. additional butter
'¢ In a large heavy-bottomed saucepan, heat the butter until melted. Add the garlic, cumin, oregano, and rice. Cook, stirring about 3 minutes. Add the stock, salt, and pepper. Bring to a boil, reduce heat and cook covered for about 15 minutes, or until the liquid is absorbed and the rice is tender.
'¢ Turn off the rice and allow to sit, covered, for about 5 minutes. Stir in the additional butter and scallions and fluff with a fork.
Serves two.

Blackened Catfish with Maque Choux

A modification of a redfish recipe with Cajun succotash, this one won't take all day in the kitchen, but is sure to raise eyebrows at the table. Goes well with white rice, which is a nice complement to the spicy catfish.
-----Catfish-----
- 4 catfish fillets
- 1/2 c. melted butter
- 1/2 c. Cajun seasoning
- 1 tsp. celery seed
- 2 tbsp. sweet paprika
- 1 tbsp. garlic powder
- 1 tbsp. dried thyme
- 1 tbsp. dried oregano
-----Maque Choux-----
- 2 tbsp. butter
- 1 small onion, chopped, about 1 c.
- 1 green pepper, chopped
- 4 c. corn kernels
- 1 c. cherry tomatoes, sliced in half
- Salt and Tabasco sauce to taste
'¢ To make the maque choux, heat butter in a sauté pan over medium-high heat, then add the onion. Sauté the onion for 1 minute, then add the green pepper.
'¢ Sprinkle with salt and sauté 4-5 minutes, stirring often. Add corn kernels and cook another 10 minutes. Turn off heat and cover while preparing fish.
'¢ Melt the butter and pour the Cajun spices into a shallow dish.
'¢ Dip fish fillets in melted butter, then dredge in Cajun spices.
'¢ Cook fillets 2-3 minutes per side in a hot cast-iron frying pan.
'¢ When you flip the fillets, add tomatoes and Tabasco to the maque choux.
Serves four.

Crab Stuffed Catfish

This seafood special is simple to fix with 15 minutes prep and less than half an hour cooking time.
- Six 6-ounce catfish fillets (about 6 ounces each)
- Two 6-ounce cans lump crabmeat, drained and flaked
- 1 c. Italian-flavored bread crumbs
- 1 rib celery, finely chopped
- 2 eggs
- 2 tbsp. mayonnaise
- 4 tbsp. (½ stick) butter, melted divided
- ½ tsp. Worcestershire sauce
- ¾ tsp. black pepper, divided
-¼ tsp. paprika
'¢ Preheat the oven to 350°F. Coat 9x13-inch baking dish with cooking spray.
'¢ In medium bowl, combine crabmeat, bread crumbs, celery, eggs, mayonnaise, 2 tablespoons melted butter, Worcestershire sauce, and 1/4 tsp. pepper; mix well.
'¢ Place catfish fillets on a work surface and season with the remaining 1/2 tsp. pepper. Spread the crabmeat stuffing equally down the center of each fillet, roll up, and place seam side down in the baking dish. Brush with remaining 2 tablespoons melted butter and sprinkle with paprika.
'¢ Bake 25 to 30 minutes, or until fish flakes easily with a fork. Serve immediately.
Serves six.

Stir Fry Catfish

Another catfish delight courtesy of Chef Lucia Watson, this recipe is perfect thanks to the cat clan's firm, tasty flesh. It also works with burbot, walleyes, bass, pike, and perch.
- 1 lb. catfish fillets cut into 1 inch cubes
- 1 tbsp. sesame oil
- 2 tbsp. soy sauce
- 1 tbsp. vegetable oil
- 1/2 med. red, yellow, and green peppers cut into julienne strips
- 1 tbsp. fresh ginger, grated
- 1 tbsp. fresh garlic, minced
- 2 scallions, coarsely chopped
- 1 carrot, julienne
- 1/4 c. fresh cilantro, steamed & chopped toasted sesame seeds for garnish
'¢ Blend the sesame oil and soy sauce and set aside.
'¢ Heat the oil in a nonstick skillet until very hot. Add the fish, peppers, carrots, ginger, garlic, and scallions. Cook 3 to 5 minutes, stirring gently.
'¢ Pour the sesame-soy mixture over and cook one more minute. Turn off heat and gently stir in cilantro.
'¢ Serve with rice and sprinkle with sesame seeds.
Serves two or three.

Catfish Cakes

The Ohio Department of Natural Resources offers this delightful and easy-to-fix catfish dish.
- 2 catfish fillets (approximately 1 lb.) diced
- 1 egg
- 1 tbsp. lemon juice
- 1/3 c. onion, chopped very fine
- 1/3 c. green pepper, chopped very fine
- ¾ c. Bisquick or other pancake mix
- Salt and pepper
- Oil for frying**
'¢ In large bowl, mix together fish, onion, and green pepper, adding desired amounts of salt and pepper. Mix whisked egg and lemon juice to the fish mixture.
'¢ Add Bisquick.
'¢ Form into patties and fry in heated oil.
Makes 12 two-inch catfish cakes.
**Patties can also be broiled on a lightly greased cookie sheet. Flip once so patties can brown on both sides. Bake for 10-15 minutes at 400°F after broiling.

Catfish Amandine

Extra-virgin olive oil replaces much of the butter flavoring typically found in amandine sauces for pan-fried catfish, giving this rendition a delicate taste, with just a third of the calories, fat, and sodium of traditional versions.
- 1 tbsp. plus 1 1/2 teaspoons extra-virgin olive oil, divided
- 1 tbsp. butter
- 1/4 c. sliced almonds
- 3 cloves garlic, thinly sliced
- 1/2 c. low-fat milk
- 1 large egg, lightly beaten
- 1/3 c. all-purpose flour
- 1/2 tsp. salt
- 1/2 tsp. cayenne pepper
- 1 lb. catfish, cut into 4 portions
- 2 tbsp. lemon juice
- 1 tbsp. chopped fresh parsley
'¢ Heat 1 tbsp. oil and butter in a small saucepan over medium heat. Add almonds and garlic, and cook until both begin to brown, 1-3 minutes. Set aside.
'¢ Combine milk and egg in a shallow dish. In another shallow dish, combine flour, salt, and cayenne. Dip fish in the milk mixture, then in the flour mixture; shake off excess flour.
'¢ Heat remaining 1 1/2 tsp. oil in a large nonstick skillet over medium heat. Add fish and cook until lightly browned and opaque in center, 4 to 6 minutes per side.
'¢ Return almond-garlic sauce to the stove over medium heat. Add lemon juice and heat through, 1 to 2 minutes. Pour sauce over fish and sprinkle with parsley.
Serves four.

Catfish Fajitas

A Southwestern treat from the South Carolina Department of Natural Resources, this fajita recipe is guaranteed to please the pickiest of palates.
- 2 lb. catfish fillets
- 1 c. lime juice (5 or 6 limes) 3 cups mesquite or hickory wood chips
- 1 large onion, sliced and warmed
- 1 large sweet red or green pepper, cut into strips 2 cloves garlic, minced
- 2 tbsp. butter
- 1⁄2 tsp. salt
- 1⁄4 tsp. pepper
- 8 flour or corn tortillas, separated into rings Salsa, sour cream, guacamole and lime wedges
'¢ Place catfish in a large plastic bag. Pour lime juice over fish. Seal bag and marinate in refrigerator for 1 hour (do not marinate longer; acid in the lime juice will 'œcook' the fish).
'¢ Soak wood chips in enough water to cover for 30-60 minutes. Drain wood chips. In a covered grill, test coals for medium-hot heat. Sprinkle wood chips over preheated coals. Lightly brush grill rack with cooking oil.
'¢ Place catfish on grill rack. Cover and grill directly over medium-hot coals about 5 minutes on each side or until fish flakes easily.
'¢ Meanwhile, in a large skillet cook onion, red or green pepper, and garlic in butter or margarine until just tender. Stir in salt and pepper.
'¢ Cut grilled catfish into chunks. Toss with onion mixture. Fill tortillas with catfish mixture.
'¢ Serve with salsa, sour cream, guacamole, and lime wedges.
Serves four.

Get Your Fish On.

Plan your next fishing and boating adventure here.

Recommended for You

Crankin' is almost a necessity for finding bass on the Great Lakes from summer through fall. Bass

Using Crankbaits For Smallmouth Bass

Matt Straw - January 31, 2016

Crankin' is almost a necessity for finding bass on the Great Lakes from summer through fall.

To help you get a handle on it all, we offer the following rundown of top choices on the buzzbait scene. Bass

Buzzbaits for Bass

Dan Johnson - February 02, 2015

To help you get a handle on it all, we offer the following rundown of top choices on the...

Here's some important crankbait lessons from the big leagues. Bass

Deep Cranking Confessions from the Pro's

John Neporadny Jr - December 18, 2017

Here's some important crankbait lessons from the big leagues.

See More Recommendations

Popular Videos

Swimmer Magic for Largemouths

Swimmer Magic for Largemouths

The In-Fisherman staff shows how to get going when the going gets tough, as they apply a touch of magic for largemouth bass.

Spider Rig Crappies

Spider Rig Crappies

Doug Stange employs one of the most effective crappie systems ever.

Trailer Bass

Trailer Bass

Doug Stange introduces us to some terrific jig trailer lures for largemouth bass.

See more Popular Videos

Trending Stories

It was an August evening and I was wading the flats in Brewster, MA with my cousin. Here you can Other Fish

Must-Have Striped Bass Tackle

Rick Bach - May 04, 2017

It was an August evening and I was wading the flats in Brewster, MA with my cousin. Here you...


Spring is prime time for pike. The Prespawn and Postspawn periods offer excellent odds at catching Pike & Muskie

How To Catch Pike In Spring

Dan Johnson - April 26, 2016

Spring is prime time for pike. The Prespawn and Postspawn periods offer excellent odds at...

Everything you need to know about popular catfish species and how to catch them on proven riggings. Catfish

All About Catfish

Rob Neumann

Everything you need to know about popular catfish species and how to catch them on proven...

See More Stories

More Catfish

Research continues to indicate that channel cats commonly live beyond 20 years of age here. Catfish

Tracking the Renowned Red River Catfish

Cory Schmidt

Research continues to indicate that channel cats commonly live beyond 20 years of age here.

Summertime is prime time for catching channel catfish in still and flowing waters across the Catfish

Locating Late Summer Channel Cats in Rivers

Dan Johnson - July 31, 2018

Summertime is prime time for catching channel catfish in still and flowing waters across the


I knew that the local park lake held big channel catfish as I'd caught them there on a variety of Catfish

Catching Channel Cats with Lures

Jim Gronaw - June 18, 2018

I knew that the local park lake held big channel catfish as I'd caught them there on a...

See More Catfish

GET THE MAGAZINE Subscribe & Save

Digital Now Included!

SUBSCRIBE NOW

Give a Gift   |   Subscriber Services

PREVIEW THIS MONTH'S ISSUE

GET THE NEWSLETTER Join the List and Never Miss a Thing.