To know me is to know that depending on the topic of conversation, I tout either my New Orleans roots or my formative years of living in Dallas, Texas. I like to think that this Jalapeño Catfish combines both aspects of my background into one perfect dish.
Catfish is a staple in both Cajun & Creole cuisine. Whether fried, sauteed, blackened, baked, or stuffed, you can find catfish on mostly every restaurant menu in The Big Easy.
Inspired by rural French cooking, Cajun cuisine was developed by a population that lived off the land, after Acadian immigrants fled Canada in the 18th century. Upon settling in the South, these French-Canadian farmers adapted their cuisine to the ingredients that were at hand in the Acadiana region of Louisiana. Their cuisine evolved to include crab, oysters, alligator, crawfish, shrimp, catfish, and redfish caught in the nearby Gulf of Mexico and waters of the bayou.
The key to getting a crisp, golden-brown catfish coating is todredge twice, dip once. After seasoning the catfish, dredge in a seasoned flour mixture, followed by dipping in the egg and buttermilk mixture, and then coating once more in the flour.
Now, this where world’s collide. Queso, while not a native staple in New Orleans cuisine, is the most popular dip in The Great State of Texas. This dish is a part of Tex-Mex and Southwestern cuisine, originating in the northern Mexican state of Chihuahua. Queso is made from a blend Velveeta, cream cheese, milk or cream, and chili peppers. Being that part of this dish is Cajun, this queso consists of 2/3 of the holy trinity (onion, bell pepper – celery omitted) with chopped jalapeños.
Cajun Jalapeño Catfish
You're going to love these crispy catfish strips topped with spicy queso sauce!
- 4 Catfish Fillets, cut into strips
- 2 eggs
- ½ cup milk
- 4 cups flour
- 1 teaspoon paprika
- ½ teaspoon garlic powder
- ½ teaspoon onion powder
- Italian Seasoning, to taste
- Cajun seasoning, to taste
- 2 cups oil
- 2 can green chilies
- 2 can diced tomatoes
- 1lb Velveeta® cheese, cut into cubes
- Beat eggs with milk in a bowl; combine flour garlic powder, onion powder, and Italian seasoning in another bowl.
- Pat catfish dry, and season with Cajun and Italian seasonings.
- Dip pieces into egg mixture, coating both sides, then coat in flour.
- Heat oil to 375°F in a skillet. Fry strips for about 2 minutes on each side, or until golden and cooked through; set aside on a paper towel lined plate.
- Place 1 can drained tomatoes, 1/2 can undrained tomatoes and Velveeta in large saucepan.
- Cook over medium heat 8 minutes or until Velveeta is melted completely and mixture is blended, stirring frequently.
- Serve with white rice topped with catfish strips, with queso dip and additional tomatoes and green chilies on top.