- The Washington Times - Tuesday, June 3, 2003

ASSOCIATED PRESS

A seafood supper doesn’t have to entail exceptional effort. All it takes is a sprinkling of spices and a grill, an oven or

a saute pan to deliver a tasty catfish meal in minutes.

The two following quick-to-make dishes can lead the way. The seasoning blends they use are offered free, ready-made, although the recipes are included if you prefer to make your own.

In the herb-seasoned catfish packets, the seasoning blend gives the fish the aroma of roasted garlic and fresh herbs during cooking, infusing it with flavor. The packets make a nice presentation for at-home dinner parties.

The following recipes are from the Catfish Institute, which has developed three tasty catfish spice blends and is offering them to cooks nationwide. They are Farmers Market Herb Seasoning, Blue Ribbon Barbecue Seasoning, and Fireworks Rub. Although home cooks easily can blend the spices in their own kitchens, ready-made packets are available free to consumers in some retail stores and on the Web: www.catfishinstitute.com.

Farmers Market herb catfish packets

The preparation and cooking time is 20 minutes.

2 cups diced Yukon gold potatoes, unpeeled

4 cups bagged baby spinach leaves

4 catfish fillets, 5 to 6 ounces each

2 teaspoons farmers market herb seasoning (recipe follows), or more to taste

Parsley for garnish

Lemon wedges for garnish

Preheat grill, broiler or oven to 400 degrees. In a medium saucepan, parboil diced potatoes for 3 to 4 minutes. Drain. For each packet, place 1 cup spinach leaves in the center of a large piece of foil sprayed with cooking spray. Add 1 catfish fillet and scatter cup parboiled potatoes around the fillet.

Sprinkle with teaspoon herb blend. Cover tightly with foil to form a packet. Repeat with remaining 3 packets. Grill, broil or bake in the oven about 8 to 10 minutes, or until fish flakes easily with a fork. Garnish with parsley and lemon wedges. Makes 4 servings.

Nutrition information per serving: 315 cal., 14 g fat, 80 mg chol., 457 mg sodium, 19 g carbo., 3 g fiber, 30 g pro.

Farmers market herb seasoning

5 teaspoons salt

1 tablespoon garlic powder

1 teaspoons chopped rosemary

1 teaspoons basil, and 1 teaspoon thyme.

Mix all ingredients together in a glass jar with a tight-fitting lid. Store jar in a cupboard, away from heat, and it will keep for 2 to 3 months.

This catfish pizza combines the flavors of spicy barbecue, tangy red pepper and rich goat cheese in a version of a traditional favorite to make on the grill or in the oven in any kind of weather.

Barbecued catfish pizza with goat cheese and peppers

The preparation and cooking time is 20 minutes.

4 catfish fillets, 5 to 6 ounces each

4 teaspoons Blue Ribbon Barbecue Seasoning (recipe follows)

6 ounces jarred sweet pepper spread (see note)

4 prepared pizza crusts, 5 to 7 inches each

2 small red peppers, diced

2 small yellow peppers, diced

5 ounces herbed goat cheese

4 green onions, diced

Prepare grill or broiler, or spray a large skillet with cooking spray and set aside. Coat catfish fillets on both sides with barbecue seasoning. Grill, broil or bake in covered skillet for 6 to 8 minutes, turning halfway through, until fish flakes easily with a fork.

Remove from heat source, cool slightly, and dice into chunks. Brush pepper spread onto each pizza crust. Sprinkle diced peppers over spread; add catfish fillet chunks; crumble goat cheese over pizza and toss on green onions. Grill or broil 4 to 5 minutes, until cheese is hot and crust is of desired doneness. Makes 4 servings.

Note: If you cannot find pepper spread ready-made, to make a similar product: Place 3 to 4 jarred, drained, roasted sweet red peppers in a food processor. Process until smooth, adding 1 tablespoon extra-virgin olive oil. Scrape into a bowl, reserving about 3/4 cup for pizzas.

Nutrition information per serving: 449 cal., 21 g fat, 96 mg chol., 702 mg sodium, 28 g carbo., 2 g fiber, 37 g pro.

Blue ribbon barbecue seasoning

3 tablespoons salt

2 tablespoons sugar

3/4 teaspoon onion powder

3/4 teaspoon garlic powder

teaspoon ground pepper

1 teaspoon black pepper

1 teaspoon tomato powder.

Mix all ingredients in a glass jar with a tight-fitting lid. Store jar in a cupboard, away from heat, and it will keep for 2 to 3 months.


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