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A classic Cajun, roux-based Catfish Etouffee. 


1 pound catfish fillets, or any other firm-fleshed white fish, cut into 4-inch pieces

1 teaspoon cayenne pepper

1/2 teaspoon salt, or to taste

1/2 teaspoon black pepper

1/2 teaspoon dried thyme

1/2 cup vegetable oil

6 tablespoons all-purpose flour

1/4 cup minced onion

2 tablespoons minced green bell pepper

2 tablespoons minced celery

1 teaspoon minced garlic

1 small bay leaf

1 1/2 cups fish stock, warmed

1 tablespoon tomato paste

1 stick butter

2 tablespoons minced green onions

1 tablespoon chopped fresh parsley

Freshly cooked rice  


Place the fish pieces on a plate and dry with a paper towel to help the seasonings adhere to the fish. In a small bowl, combine the cayenne, salt, black pepper and thyme. Season the fillets with half of the mixture. 

In a large skillet, heat the oil over high heat until sizzling and nearly smoking. Reduce the heat to medium-high. Gradually whisk in the flour until smooth, being careful not to splatter any of the hot roux on your skin. Cook, stirring constantly, until the roux is medium-brown, about 5 minutes. Remove from the heat and stir in the onion, bell pepper, celery, garlic, bay leaf and the remaining seasoning mixture. Return to the heat and cook, stirring constantly, until the vegetables are softened, about 2 minutes. Gradually stir in 1/2 cup of the warm stock and the tomato paste and stir until the sauce begins to thicken, about 1 minute, then remove from the heat. 

In a separate skillet, heat 4 tablespoons of the butter until sizzling. Add the catfish and green onions and cook until the fish is opaque (it does not need to brown), 2 to 3 minutes per side.  

Transfer the fish, the remaining 4 tablespoons butter, and the remaining 1 cup stock to the skillet with the vegetables and cook for 2 to 3 minutes, shaking or stirring the pan constantly to melt the butter and emulsify it into a rich sauce. Remove and discard the bay leaf. Sprinkle the etouffee with the parsley and serve over rice. 

Recipe adapted by Vanessa Gray-Douglas. Original recipe from Jubilee by Toni Tipton-Martin, posted on Honey From Rock.