down home crab and polenta stuffed catfish


One weeknight Adam and went to the grocery store looking for some dinner inspiration. We wandered around the Wholefoods produce section with zero bursts of genius, and then turned to the fish station where the brilliant idea hit me, "why don't we stuff something...with polenta!" And so this recipe was born. 

I can't tell you that it has any particular health benefit, besides the healthy omega-3 fatty acids found in fish, but it's tasty! Since we wanted to use polenta we decided to go the elevated down home route - we chose catfish as our base, and threw some crab, jalapeno, and hot sauce in there. The polenta mixed with crab renders a creamy filling without the use of any dairy product. It's filling without dense or fatty ingredients, and goes great paired with a simple vegetable. We threw ours over a kale and white bean salad, and it made a great weeknight dinner.

Ingredients (serves 2):
1Lb Catfish
1/2Lb Lump Crab
1 Cup Polenta
1 Jalapeno, seeded & chopped
1 Medium Shallot, chopped
2 Garlic Cloves, minced
1/2 Tsp Cayenne
1 Tsp Dry Mustard
2 Tsp Mesquite
1 Tsp Onion Powder
3 Tsp Salt
2 Tbsp Hot Sauce
1 Tbsp White Vinegar

1. Preheat oven to 350F
2. While making your polenta, throw in the jalapeno and shallot, and let the mixture cook down.
3. In a medium bowl, stir together crab, polenta, spices, hot sauce, and white vinegar.
4. First cut your catfish in half, to have two identical fillets. Turn the fillet towards you, and cut horizontally through the thick end to make a pocket for your filling.
5. Spoon the polenta and crab mixture into your pockets, filling generously.
6. Place the filled catfish on a parchment paper-lined cookie sheet and stick in the oven to bake.
7. After 20 minutes, remove from oven and place a pat of butter atop each fillet. this will caramelize and give a crispy texture to the outer layer of fish. 
8. Replace everything in the oven for another 5 minutes or until cooked.

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