Since we live so close to the Delta a special catfish recipe is in order and why not a Catfish Dip? At first this may not sound too appetizing, but believe me, once you spice this cat up with some Louisiana seasoning they'll be coming back for more. I promise!
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When I first moved from south Louisiana to Greenville, Mississippi I realized what a big industry catfish farming is to the area. It was new to me since our fish always came from a canal, lake or the Gulf. No farmers involved, just fishermen. When moving across the river to Arkansas, by-passing more Delta land, the catfish farms became more visible. Seeing the ponds and farmers handling the fish filled nets made it more understandable how this water farming is so vital to the people.
It all began in the early sixties when the usual dirt crops were becoming not as profitable as in the earlier years. Then someone came up with the ingenious idea of catfish farming. With the use of the rich clay dirt, ample groundwater, and popularity of the tasty fish the aquatic farming became a success and now a part of the Delta's agricultural story.
Frying It Up
The fish fry is a traditional meal in this Delta. It seems to be the all time favorite that families and organizations like to serve when having special gatherings. Kind of the way a Cajun throws a crawfish boil or gumbo supper. Every culture has their own.
The fish plate is also a common menu item in restaurants and those little eat-in gas stations. Fried fish is served alongside coleslaw, hush puppies, raw onion slices and a spear of dill pickle. I don't know where or how this all came about, but the flavors go well together. Oh, and don't forget the tartar sauce!
The Catfish Dip
I first came across the idea of a catfish dip on Instagram. A friend, eating at a restaurant, had taken a picture of her husband enjoying a dish that looked so delicious. I messaged her an inquiry about it and she said it was catfish dip. I had never heard of such a thing but what a great idea!
The search for a recipe began, but they all seemed too bland. Since the catfish had to be cooked first I thought of using some blackened fish seasoning to begin. This became the start of a very tasty dip. There are other brands on the market, but I like Chef Hans Louisiana Blackened Fish seasoning so I slathered the fish fillets with it. You can add as little or as much as you like. The level of heat is up to you.
I used to think a blackened dish was difficult, but after Chef Han's wife, Chris gave me a bottle of his seasoning I learned how quick, simple and delicious it is. There are only 3 easy steps to it. You can check out this blog post, Easy Blackened Fish for more details and Chef Hans Gourmet Foods website to order the seasoning.
Next, allow the fish to cool. The rest of the preparation is just as easy with the use of a food processor.
The first half of the blackened fish goes into the processor and the other half is broken into chunks and stirred into the dip along with the last few ingredients. This gives a nice chunky bite of fish with every dip.
The great thing about catfish is it's so readily available and there's no waiting for it to come in season. Give this a try at your next get together with friends and family and watch how fast it disappears.
12 ounces catfish fillets
blackened fish seasoning
3 tablespoons olive oil
1 cup sour cream
8 ounces cream cheese, softened
2 tablespoons fresh lemon juice
2 teaspoons prepared horseradish
2 teaspoons Worcestershire sauce
hot sauce to taste
½ cup green onion, chopped
2 tablespoons parsley, chopped
3 tablespoons red bell pepper, chopped
Coat fillets with seasoning. Heat oil in large saucepan. Brown fillets well on both sides until dark in the hot oil then lower the heat and cook for a few more minutes until fish is done. Remove from pan to cool.
Place half of cooled catfish in food processor and pulse until smooth. Add sour cream, cream cheese, lemon juice, horse radish, Worcestershire sauce, and hot sauce. Pulse until all ingredients are blended well.
Take the rest of the fillets and break apart by hand into chunks and place in a large bowl. Add the dip mixture from the processor, parsley, and red pepper into the bowl of catfish chunks. Stir together. Move dip to a smaller container, cover, and place in the refrigerator to cool for a couple of hours. Serve with crackers or chips.
You may use your favorite Cajun seasoning or your own seasoning mix for the fish. I suggest you season liberally in order to get the most flavorful dip.
- Prep Time: 15 minutes
- Cook Time: 15 minutes
- Category: Appetizer
- Cuisine: American
- Serving Size: 3 tablespoons
Agriculture is our wisest pursuit, because it will in the end contribute most to real wealth, good morals, and happiness. Thomas Jefferson
Agriculture is the most healthful, most useful, and most noble employment of man. George Washington