Sunday, September 13, 2009

Kale and Catfish Salad with Panko-Pups

Now, just give it a chance! You don't know it's nasty until you've heard the whole dish and seen the picture.

Look, see? I took a picture of it. You don't have to comment on the photography skills, or lack thereof. I need better lighting. I hate the flash. And that LED lighting thing doesn't work all that well either.

Phillip was rapturous about it. Here is his "restaurant description". "Kale & Catfish salad with black-eyed peas and “panko-pups”—light panko-breaded catfish filet over kale with black-eyed peas, roasted carrots and parsnips, and “panko-pup” croutons; sweet champagne-honey vinaigrette".

The "panko-pups" came about because I hate wasting panko crumbs. I was cooking the catfish and looking at my dredging pans, and eyeing a lump of panko that had wrapped around a blob of egg white and thought "what the hell?" so I dropped it in the pan with the catfish. Then I thought "Well, I might as well go ahead and use up what I got." So I grabbed fingerfuls of egg white, dropped them in the panko crumbs, gobbed them together, salted and peppered them, and tossed them in the pan with the catfish. And used up all the rest of the panko crumbs. Yay!

OK, here's the recipe: (Note: I am not Fine Cooking or Bon Appetit. I do not have a test kitchen and I don't always pay close attention when I'm doing something in the kitchen. While this is marginally better than those old colonial "receipts" that have you mixing "a good amount of flour" with "a standard amount of lard or butter", it is not going to be perfect. Feel free to tweak.

Catfish Fillets
2 each catfish fillet
3 each egg whites
1/2 cup flour
1 cup panko crumbs
kosher salt
1/4 cup vegetable oil

Roasted Vegetables
2 each carrots, peeled and cut
2 each parsnips, peeled and cut
olive oil
kosher salt

4 cups kale, washed and drained
2 cups frisee lettuce, washed and drained
3 Tablespoons Champagne wine vinegar
1 Tablespoon honey
1 teaspoon dijon mustard
1/4 teaspoon salt
2 Tablespoons olive oil

Black Eyed Peas
1 small yellow onion, diced
1 stalk celery, diced
1 1/2 cups frozen blackeyed peas
3/4 cup chicken stock
1/2 teaspoon kosher salt
1 Tablespoon olive oil

1. For the blackeyed peas: Sautee the chopped onion and celery in the olive oil until soft. Add a healthy pinch of kosher salt. Add the blackeyed peas and the chicken stock. Turn the heat down to medium low and simmer about 45 minutes.

2. For the salad: Mix together the Champagne vinegar, honey, dijon mustard, salt and olive oil. Wash and drain the kale and frisee well, and tear into bite sized pieces. Be sure to leave out the tough stems of the kale. (Kale may take extra washing to get all the grit off.) Mix together the kale and the frisee, and then dress. Let sit for 20 minutes, tossing occasionally.

3. For the roasted vegetables: Cut the carrots and the parsnips into finger-size pieces. Drizzle with olive oil and sprinkle with salt. Roast at 400F for 30 minutes.

4. For the catfish: Heat the vegetable oil over medium heat in a skillet. Salt and pepper the catfish fillets. Dredge in flour, and shake off excess. Dip in beaten egg whites and shake off excess. Dip in panko crumbs and place in hot oil. Cook on each side about 4 minutes, until golden brown.

5. For Panko "Pups". Drop a spoonful of egg white from the catfish dredge into the panko crumbs. Place in the hot oil with the catfish. Salt and pepper and cook on each side until golden brown.

6. Assemble the salad: Place half the dressing-tossed greens on the plate. Arrange the roasted vegetables around the edges. Add the Panko Pups around the edges. Place a serving spoonful of drained blackeyed peas in the middle and top with a catfish fillet. Serve warm.

Note: I had reservations about the "vinegariness" of the salad. I think it worked well with the flavors, and it certainly cut the bitterness of the kale, but I worried it was a little overpowering. Phillip says absolutely not, but he eats more southern greens than I do. (Like, try never.) But overall, it worked and is reasonably balanced. You could cut back on the amount of dressing for the kale if you think it's too much.

1 comment:

Elizabeth said...

What do you mean "give it a chance"? You had me at Panko Pups. Gawd I am hungry now. I love catfish.