GINNA PARSONS: Catfish dish is perfect for Lent



Last Wednesday, I received a call from Jeannie Butts of Thaxton, who was the featured Cook of the Week that day. Jeannie was concerned I had implied that in Nebraska, the only thing people eat is potatoes, gravy and meat – and very few vegetables. What Jeannie meant was that her husband would eat only potatoes, gravy, meat and very few vegetables.

“Everyone else ate normal food,” she said. “My husband’s a very picky eater.”

Now that we’ve cleared that up, I’m guessing there are more than a few of you who have given up such things as meat, gravy and potatoes (and maybe even taken on more vegetables) during this austere season of Lent.

This year, I gave up second helpings which, when you get right down to it, is gluttony. But I am also more mindful of what I eat during the six weeks between Ash Wednesday and Easter Sunday.

We usually prepare lighter meals with an emphasis on fish and food prepared simply. (Gourmet chefs tell us this is the way we should be eating every day … many of them have gotten away from fussy dishes so the main ingredients can shine without being masked by heavy sauces and flavors.)

Here is a very simple fish dish we made a couple of weeks ago that was out-of-this-world good. I don’t think I’ll ever want fried catfish again. In fact, the day after we had it, I asked my husband what he wanted for dinner that night and he said, “Let’s do that catfish again that we had last night.”

It’s now a family favorite.

Cajun-Baked Catfish

1 cup cornmeal

1 teaspoon salt

112 teaspoons pepper

6 (4-ounce) catfish fillets

1 tablespoon Cajun seasoning

14 teaspoon seasoned salt

3 tablespoons melted butter

Fresh lemon wedges

Combine cornmeal, salt and pepper. Dredge catfish fillets in cornmeal mixture; place fillets on a greased baking sheet.

Combine Cajun seasoning and seasoned salt; sprinkle over fillets. Drizzle with butter.

Bake at 400 degrees for 30 minutes or until golden and fish flakes with a fork. Drizzle with fresh lemon juice.

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

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