Fish & Shellfish

Grilled Catfish Steaks with Tomatillo Sauce and Roasted Garlic (Bagre Asado con Salsa Enchipotlada) | Print |
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Serves 4

  • 8 3- to 4-ounce catfish steaks, each about 1-inch thick
  • 2 cups Frontera Chipotle Salsa
  • 2 tablespoons olive or vegetable oil
  • 12 cloves garlic, unpeeled
  • 1 medium white onion, thinly sliced
  • 1/4 to 1/2 teaspoon cumin, preferably freshly ground, to taste
  • 1/4 teaspoon black pepper, preferably freshly ground
  • 2/3 cup fish or mild chicken broth
  • Salt to taste
  • A little chopped cilantro or sprigs of cilantro, for garnish

1.  Marinating the fish. Lay the catfish steaks in a baking dish. Mix together 1/4 cup of the Essential Roasted Tomatillo-Chipotle Salsa with 1 tablespoon of the oil, then brush half of the mixture over the fish. Flip the fish and brush the other side with the remaining marinade. Cover and refrigerate for several hours, if time permits.

2.  The sauce with roasted garlic.  Heat a large heavy skillet over medium. Roast the unpeeled garlic in the skillet, turning occasionally, until soft (they will blacken in spots), about 15 minutes; cool and peel.

             Heat the remaining 1 tablespoon of oil in the skillet. Add the onion and cook, stirring regularly, until it begins to brown (but stays crunchy), about 5 minutes. Add the remaining salsa to the skillet along with the cumin, pepper and whole cloves of roasted garlic. Stir as the salsa concentrates for several minutes, then stir in the broth and simmer for 10 minutes.  Taste and season with salt if necessary.

3.  Finishing the dish.  Light a gas grill or prepare a charcoal fire letting the coals burn until they are covered with a gray ash and medium-hot. Position grill grate about 8 inches above the coals and lightly oil.

            Lay the catfish on the grill. Sprinkle lightly with salt. Grill, covered, until nicely seared and half-done, 4 to 6 minutes. Flip the steaks, sprinkle with salt and grill the other side, 4 to 6 minutes more.

            Transfer the fish to a warm serving platter, spoon the sauce over or around the fish and garnish with cilantro.  Serve without hesitation.

NOTES: If you have to buy a whole catfish, know that a 2 pounder will yield 4 1-inch thick center cut steaks (3 1/2 to 5 ounces each); use a sharp chef’s knife to cut straight down through the bone. Other fish steaks or fillets easily can be substituted, though meatier ones (tuna, swordfish, shark) are easier to grill than those with small flakes (like flounder and sole). Skewered grilled scallops are remarkable with this sauce.

Indoor “Grilling”: Though it won’t give the smokiness, a cast-iron grill pan and hot oven can be used. Lightly oil the pan and heat over medium-high until hot; add the fish in a single layer and cook until nicely seared, about 3 minutes; flip the fish and place the pan in a 450-degree oven. Roast until the fish is cooked through and nicely browned.


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