Monday, October 15, 2018

Recipe: Cooking Wide Net Blue Catfish Catties with John Shields

The "Culinary Ambassador of the Chesapeake Bay", Chef John Shields, has created a new take on the ubiquitous Baltimore “coddie,” with a delicious salt-catfish cake. John shared this recipe with me over the weekend in honor of #NationalSeafoodMonth.

While cooking with John, he explained to me that blue catfish are an invasive species that are overtaking the Chesapeake Bay. The blue catfish reproduces quickly, has no natural predators in the watershed, and eats everything in its wake, including iconic Chesapeake species such as blue crab and rockfish. Thus, blue catfish not only threaten the thousands of plants and animals that are native to the Chesapeake, but also the fishing economy that relies on species such as the blue crab.

I was a bit apprehensive to try the blue catfish because I had grown up eating the muddy bottom-feeder catfish at the Lake of the Ozarks in the Midwest. He explained that these blue catfish are not the bland bottom-feeders we are used to. These firm white fish have a delicious taste! To contribute to eating more sustainable seafood, John features these Wide Net Blue Catfish Catties on his menu at his restaurant Gertrude’s in Baltimore as well as in his new cookbook.

The “cattie” is a delicious regional fish cake that transforms the nasty invasive species into an incredible snack! John recently cooked these catties on WUSA9’s “Great Day Washington," which you can view here. John also wrote more on the Blue Catfish on is blog, which can be found here.

RECIPE from John Shields New Cookbook The New Chesapeake Kitchen:

  • 1-pound dried salt-catfish
  • 1 ½ pound white potatoes, peeled and cut into quarters
  • 2 tablespoons melted butter or olive oil
  • 1 small onion diced
  • 3 eggs, beaten
  • 3 tablespoons grain mustard
  • 4 tablespoons minced chives
  • 1/3 cup chopped parsley
  • 2 tablespoons chopped dill
  • Salt and pepper
  • Oil for frying
  • Saltine crackers for serving
  • Yellow mustard or other dip of your choosing for serving
*Makes 18-20 catties
**Must prepare salt-catfish 48 hours before**

1. Completely cover single layers of the 1-pound catfish with kosher salt on tray. Wrap the tray with plastic wrap and refrigerate for 48 hours.
2. Once you have prepared the salt-catfish, remove the fish from the salt and rinse with cold water and dry fillets.
3. Boil the salt-catfish in water and then let the fish simmer for about 15 minutes.
4. Break up the cooked fish with a fork and let cool.
5. Cook the potatoes in lightly salted water. Drain, mash, and cool.
6. Heat the butter/oil in pan and sauté diced onions until translucent.
7. Add the catfish and potatoes to pan with onions and mix well.
8. Mix in the grain mustard, chives, parsley, dill, salt, and pepper to the pan.
9. Form the catties into small balls and flatten. *for more solid catties, put them into the refrigerator to form longer.
10. Pour oil into a tall skillet to fry catties. Make sure there is a solid layer of oil in pan.
11. Fry the catties, about 3 minutes per side.
12. Drain on paper towels.
13. Serve on crackers with dipping sauce.
14. …and enjoy with friends!

I can’t wait to make these again for my Midwestern family. They will not believe that these fish cakes are made with Catfish – and that by eating them they are helping with the environment! For more information on Chef John Shields or to buy his Cookbook to try out his other recipes, check out his blog here!

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