Category Archives: Fish

Crazy for Catfish

Once maligned as a bottom feeder, catfish has emerged as a popular entrée. It’s farmed in the U.S.A. and is sustainable, unlike many farmed varieties of fish. Catfish is a bottom feeder, true, but it does well in crowded ponds. If you’re interested in eating sustainable foods but you’re on a budget, you’re in luck. Catfish is affordable, tasty, and sturdy. It stands up well to a variety of cooking methods. We eat it blackened, baked, pan fried, steamed, even deep fried occasionally. (A word of caution: wild caught catfish can taste strong and fishy, so stick with farm raised.)

Catfish is on sale this week, so I bought two small fillets. It’s important to buy only what you’ll use within 24 hours. Fresh fish is best, but frozen catfish is very good. Just be sure it’s raised in the U.S.A. Asian catfish is a different species, and it’s not as tasty. Also, because catfish is a bottom feeder, you want to be extra careful of its source. You’ll find raised-in-USA frozen catfish fillets even at the big box stores. It’s convenient to have fish on hand in your freezer.

Today I’m pan frying it. It’s not difficult but it is tasty! No wonder it’s a Southern favorite.


Pan Fried Buttermilk Catfish


  • 2 small catfish fillets (4-6 oz. each)
  • 1 Tbsp. safflower oil or peanut oil (or neutral taste oil of your choice)
  • 1 cup buttermilk
  • 1 cup cornmeal or a mix of ½ cup cornmeal and ½ cup all purpose flour
  • ½ tsp. salt
  • freshly ground pepper to taste


  • Soak catfish in buttermilk for 10 minutes, max.
  • Heat oil in a medium skillet over medium heat.
  • Season corn meal with salt and pepper. Mix to combine.
  • Dredge each catfish fillet in the corn meal.
  • Place each fillet in the skillet and cook for approximately 5 minutes. Turn. If fish sticks to pan, wait at least another minute to turn.
  • Cook 4-5 minutes on the second side.
  • Plate and serve immediately.

Serves two. Serve with steamed vegetables, cheese grits, and a whole grain roll.

Catfish is versatile, flavorful, and good for you. Give it a try.

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Pressure Cooker

Paella is one of those wonderful one-pot meals with peasant origins. Traditionally, paella was cooked over an open fire in the fields when workers took a break for lunch. The ingredients depended on what was available and could include everything from chicken to rabbit. Coastal areas of Spain popularized the addition of seafood, again whatever catch was available.

The most expensive ingredient is the saffron, yet I know of no suitable substitution. The good news is a little bit of saffron goes a long way and stores well in your refrigerator.

Paella can be a healthful dish, but the recipes I found were time consuming. Not to be discouraged, I experimented with ways to serve paella with minimal fuss. My hasty tasty version of paella uses a 6-quart pressure cooker and mostly frozen ingredients. From start to finish, the meal takes just about half an hour to cook.


 Hasty Tasty Paella


  • 1 cup uncooked brown rice¹
  • 2 Tbsp. extra virgin olive oil
  • 1½ cups frozen pepper stir-fry
  • 1 ¾ cups chicken stock or broth
  • 6-8 saffron threads
  • 1 Tbsp. sweet paprika
  • 2 boneless, skinless chicken thighs
  • ½ pound frozen shrimp, cleaned and shelled
  • ½ pound frozen sea scallops
  • ½ cup frozen peas or mixed vegetables
  • ¼ cup chopped fresh parsley


  1. Brown the rice in the olive oil over medium heat in the bottom of the pressure cooker pot.
  2. After rice is browned, add the pepper stir-fry, broth, saffron, paprika, and chicken. Secure lid and bring to pressure.
  3. Cook under pressure 15 minutes.
  4. Remove the cooker from heat and allow pressure to drop on its own for 10 minutes. Then carefully release pressure and remove the lid according to the manufacturer’s instructions.
  5. Remove the chicken to a cutting board for slicing. Fluff the rice with a fork.
  6. Return cooker to medium heat and add remaining ingredients. Cook just until seafood is cooked, approximately 5 minutes or until shrimp is pink.
  7. Remove cooker immediately from heat and stir in sliced chicken. Transfer paella to a large shallow serving bowl or individual bowls and serve.

Yield: 4 generous servings

¹Do not substitute white or yellow rice for brown rice. Anything other than brown rice will overcook.

Variation: Use fish or mussels instead of or in addition to the shrimp and scallops.


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Filed under casseroles, chicken, cooking, Fish, Healthful Eating, Mexican, Recipes, scallops, Shrimp

Fast Food Can Be Healthful, too

By special request, here is an encore of a post from last year.

Wild Alaskan Salmon

Thaw salmon and season lightly

With quality cookware and ingredients, a supercharged healthy meal is less than half an hour away. On the menu: wild Alaskan salmon fillets, steamed broccoli with red bell pepper, and steamed butternut squash. The food is high in nutrients and antioxidents, especially if it’s not overcooked. I prefer steaming over low heat. More of a technique than a recipe, here is how to have a great and easy meal in a short time.

What you’ll need to make dinner for four: Four salmon fillets, two large bunches of broccoli, one red bell pepper, one medium butternut squash, Butter Buds or Molly McButter, and pumpkin pie spice mix.

Salmon: Be sure to buy wild Alaskan salmon. It may be pricey but it’s worth it, both in nutrition and taste. If frozen, thaw in the refrigerator before cooking. Place fillets in a dry, preheated skillet–skin side down. Sprinkle lightly with pumpkin pie spice. Cover, reduce heat to its lowest setting, and cook for fifteen minutes. Do not lift the lid to peek. Serve salmon with…

Butternut Squash: Rich in beta carotine, butternut squash often is overlooked. It doesn’t need butter, salt, or much of anything to season it. It’s tasty on its own.  To serve four, buy a medium size Butternut squash.

I cut the squash into long strips and scrape away the seeds. Then using the Kitchen Cutter and #1 cone, I grate the squash (you can use a hand grater or food processor if you don’t own a Kitchen Cutter). Steam the grated squash in a 1-quart covered sauce pan over low heat. As with the salmon, don’t lift the lid. As soon as the lid spins, turn off the heat and leave covered for about ten minutes. The cooked squash will be the consistency of mashed potatoes. Sprinkle with pumpkin pie spice (Tying the flavor with the salmon) and stir.

The broccoli and red bell pepper make a colorful dish, rich in vitamins and fiber.  Wash one red bell pepper and enough broccoli flowerets to feed four. Julienne the pepper. Steam with broccoli in a covered two-quart sauce pan over low heat. As soon as the lid spins, turn off heat and leave covered for fifteen minutes for crisper vegetables, twenty for more tender. Sprinkle with Butter Buds or Molly McButter and serve.

Quality Cookware

Steam in covered pans over low heat

The three dishes take only about thirty minutes including prep time. Because the food is steamed over low heat, the pans come clean easily.  The food is delicious without a lot of additives or salt, and it’s figure-friendly.

Colorful and delicious.

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Filed under cooking, Fish, Healthful Eating, Salmon


By request, here is one of my favorite (and easy) fish recipes. Use low heat and don’t overcook. If you don’t have an electric skillet, use a quality covered skillet over low heat.



Fiery Fish with Fennel and Onion
Serves 2


1-1¼ pound any firm fish fillets
1 fresh bulb fennel (save some of the fennel fronds for garnish) 1 large yellow onion
1 Tbsp. lemon juice or 1 lemon, sliced
½ tsp – 1 tsp Redneck Pepper Flamin Fish seasoning (optional for sissies)


Preheat a large electric skillet to 250°. Quarter, core, and slice fennel bulb into ¼” slices. Peel and slice onion into ¼” slices. Arrange fennel and onion slices in bottom of the skillet and cover, simmering for about ten minutes. Meanwhile, rinse the fish fillets, sprinkle with lemon juice (or if you prefer, cover fish with lemon slices when cooking), then season fillets with the Redneck Pepper Flamin Fish seasoning (or regular lemon pepper if you can’t find Redneck Pepper*) on both sides.

Carefully placed the fish fillets on top the sliced fennel and onions, cover, and steam for approximately fifteen minutes. Avoid lifting the lid, but if too much steam escapes, adjust temperature a bit lower, to about 225°. Check fish after fifteen minutes. If done, unplug skillet and serve. If fish needs additional time, cover and time an additional five minutes. Check again.

Serve the fish with a side of the cooked onions and fennel slices, cornbread, and a side vegetable of your choice. Tasty and healthful, too!

*For information on how to purchase Redneck Pepper, call 1-78-REDNECK2 or visit . You’ll be glad you did!

Fiery Fish & Fennel for Four

Fiery Fish and Fennel for 4

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Filed under cooking, Fennel, Fish, Healthful Eating