Wild Irish Cooking: Cast-Iron Catfish with Irish Butter Sauce in “Braising the Wild”

Jack Hennessy stays on the Irish theme with Cast-Iron Catfish with Irish Butter Sauce this week in “Braising the Wild.”

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Cast-Iron Catfish with Irish Butter Sauce

Jack Hennessy

Jack Hennessy continues his Irish them this week in “Braising the Wild” with Cast-Iron Catfish with Irish Butter Sauce.

Here is the recipe:

CAST-IRON CATFISH WITH IRISH BUTTER SAUCE

My wife found a version of this gem in an Irish cookbook she bought me years ago. The original recipe called for trout, but those are a tad scarce in our nearby Kansas waters so I opted for catfish instead.

You can make this with any fish, especially trout, as the butter sauce is the highlight. I would just recommend not skinning but rather scaling fish like trout and potentially scoring the skin, as well.

To learn how to skin a catfish, there are a lot of videos on YouTube, one of my favorites being How to Skin a Catfish in Less Than 20 Seconds. Phil makes it look so simple, but it’s never been so for me.

Ingredients (four servings):

Two 12- to 14-ounce whole catfish, gutted and skinned

Four fennel sprigs

12 ounces unsalted butter, mixed use

1/4 pint heavy whipping cream

1 tablespoon freshly minced garlic

1 tablespoon freshly minced shallots

1 cup fresh spinach leaves

Fresh lemon slices for garnish

Kosher salt and pepper, mixed use

  1. In a medium pot heated on medium-low heat, sauté freshly minced shallots and garlic in a tablespoon or 2 of butter until slightly soft and brown. Lightly salt and butter then add heavy cream to reduce.
  2. In a separate medium or large pot, briefly boil spinach leaves for a couple minutes then drain them in a colander.
  3. Add soft spinach leaves to cream while it reduces. Meanwhile, slice two sticks of butter and leave in a bowl at room temperature.
  4. Continue to stir spinach into cream as it reduces. Once cream has reduced to approximately one-third, turn off the heat and lift up pot and slowly start to whisk in butter two pats at a time until all butter is melted. Set aside.
  5. Heat a cast-iron skillet to 425 degrees and lightly oil. Pre-heat oven to 425 degrees.
  6. Place two fennel sprigs and two pats of butter in cavities of both fish. Lightly salt and pepper both sides of fish and place in skillet.
  7. Lightly oil topside of fish while bottom crisps. Once bottom is golden-brown, flip and sear other side.
  8. Once both sides are seared, place in oven for 5-6 minutes to finish cooking fish.
  9. Pull from oven and plate with freshly sliced lemons overtop and your preferred amount of Irish butter sauce. Enjoy!

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