GINNA PARSONS: Catfish dish makes me long for the Delta

By Ginna Parsons/NEMS Daily Journal

A friend of mine was looking for some new recipes to try one day last week and I offered up my copy of “Absolutely a la Carte” for her to peruse. The cookbook showcases recipes from A la Carte Alley, a restaurant and gift shop in Cleveland.
I’ve never been to the restaurant, although I’d love to. I keep promising myself I’m going to take a day-trip to the Mississippi Delta and eat and shop, but somehow, I never find the time.
Flipping through the cookbook again was like seeing an old friend. I had forgotten how many good dishes I’ve made from its recipes. Broccoli with Cheese Soup, Chicken-Wild Rice D’Iberville, Gulf Coast Shrimp Dip … all so yummy.
On many of the pages, a quote from someone famous is included along with the recipe.
For Catfish Margarite, there’s this from Willard Scott of the “Today” show on NBC: “If I go down for anything in history, I would like to be known as the person who convinced the American people that catfish is one of the finest eating fishes in the world.”
Willard, I couldn’t agree more.
When I make this dish, I use baked Scoops for the tortilla chips and reduced fat sour cream.
For a side dish, I combine a can of yellow corn, drained; a can of black beans, rinsed and drained; and a can of Ro-tel tomatoes with green chilies, lightly drained, in a serving bowl. Refrigerate until cold and then add a couple of tablespoons of chopped fresh cilantro just before serving.
Throw in a margarita, if you’re so inclined, and you’re good to go.

Catfish Margarite
2 large eggs, lightly beaten
14 cup water
1 tablespoon taco seasoning mix
12 teaspoon garlic powder
6 (6-ounce) catfish fillets
34 cup all-purpose flour
1 (10-ounce) package tortilla chips, finely crushed
12 cup sour cream
12 teaspoon ground cumin
12 cup salsa
2 tablespoons chopped fresh cilantro

Whisk together first 4 ingredients in a shallow bowl. Dredge fillets in flour and dip in egg mixture; dredge in tortilla chips. Place fillets in a lightly greased baking dish. Bake at 375 degrees for 30 minutes.
Combine sour cream and cumin, stirring well; chill. Combine salsa and cilantro, stirring well. Serve fish with a dollop of sour cream mixture and salsa.
Serves 6.

Ginna Parsons is the Daily Journal’s food/home/garden editor.