Spiced Catfish

This clean catfish recipe is coated in cornmeal and fried, but its naturally sweet flesh works perfectly with a simple sprinkling of spicy chile powder.
Spiced Catfish

Spiced Catfish

Catfish is often coated in cornmeal and fried, but its naturally sweet flesh works perfectly with a simple sprinkling of spicy chile powder. Here, it’s served with buttery polenta – a creamy porridge made of finely ground cornmeal – as a nod to the classic preparation (think catfish and cheese grits!). If the polenta becomes too thick, stir in a bit of hot water until you’ve reached the desired consistency.

  • Duration
  • Prep Time
  • 4Servings


  • 3 tbsp extra-virgin olive-oil, divided
  • 2 tbsp organic unsalted butter
  • 1 large yellow onion, finely chopped
  • Pinch ground black pepper
  • 1 lb white or cremini mushrooms, thinly sliced
  • 5 large cloves garlic, minced
  • 1 1/2 tbsp sherry vinegar or white wine vinegar
  • 1 3/4 cups low-sodium vegetable broth
  • 1/3 cup finely chopped fresh flat-leaf parsley, divided
  • 1 tbsp fresh lemon juice
  • 3/4 tsp sea salt, divided
  • 4 4-oz boneless, skinless catfish fillets (1/2 to 3/4 inch thick; alternatively, you can substitute with cod)
  • 1 1/2 tsp chile powder


  • 2 1/4 cups low-sodium vegetable broth
  • 1 tbsp organic unsalted butter (Try: Horizon Organic Unsalted Butter)

  • 3/4 cup whole-grain cornmeal (aka polenta)
  • 3/4 cup shredded extra-old white cheddar cheese
  • 1/4 cup thinly sliced green onions, optional
  • Pinch sea salt and ground pepper


1.Preheat oven to 500°F. Arrange1 oven rack in top position and place a rimmed baking sheet on rack to heat.

2.In a small saucepan, heat 2 tbsp oil and 2 tbsp butter on medium-high. Add yellow onion and pinch black pepper and sauté, stirring occasionally, until soft and translucent, about 6 minutes. Add mushrooms and sauté until softened and no liquid remains, 7 to 9 minutes.

3. Add garlic and sauté until fragrant, about 1 minute. Add vinegar; cook, stirring, until almost no liquid remains, about 1 minute. Add 1¾ cups broth and bring to a simmer. Cook, stirring occasionally, until thickened and reduced by three-quarters, about 10 minutes. Remove from heat; stir in all but 1 tbsp parsley and add lemon juice and ¼ tsp salt. Cover to keep warm. Set aside.

4. Meanwhile, brush both sides of fish with remaining 1 tbsp oil; sprinkle with chile powder and ½ tsp salt. Remove baking sheet from oven; carefully line with parchment paper. Arrange fish on prepared sheet. Bake on top rack, turning once, until fish flakes easily when tested with a fork, about 6 minutes. Sprinkle with remaining 1 tbsp parsley. (Note:Normally parchment shouldn't be used on very high heat, but since it's only in the oven for a short time, it works well in this recipe. Preheating the baking sheet ensures both sides of fish cook uniformly.)

5. Prepare polenta: In a large saucepan, bring 2¼ cups broth and 1 tbsp butter to a boil. Reduce heat to a simmer; slowly whisk in polenta. Cook, stirring frequently, until thickened, 5 to 8 minutes. Remove from heat; stir in cheese, green onions (if using ), and pinch each salt and pepper.

6. Divide polenta among plates; top with mushroom mixture and fish, dividing evenly.

Nutrition Information

  • Serving Size: 1 fillet and 1/4 of polenta and ragu
  • Calories: 573
  • Carbohydrate Content: 39 g
  • Cholesterol Content: 106 mg
  • Fat Content: 35 g
  • Fiber Content: 5 g
  • Protein Content: 29 g
  • Saturated Fat Content: 13 g
  • Sodium Content: 817 mg
  • Sugar Content: 6 g
  • Monounsaturated Fat Content: 15 g
  • Polyunsaturated Fat Content: 3 g