The Chesapeake Bay’s bounty serves a region known for some of the best seafood in the world. Cooks and food lovers have long cherished the endless variety of fresh fish to be found there. The Bay has been known primarily for the blue crab. However, other seafood abounds. Catfish, bluefish, perch, rockfish and clams also offer indescribable culinary pleasure.
I was born and bred in Annapolis, Maryland on the Bay and have always had a love affair with the cuisine that results from its waters. Catfish have distinctive long cat-like whiskers. Ugly, yet they’re my favorite fish. Now, however, I buy farm-raised fillets or nuggets and don’t have to contend with any of the body parts.
Catfish is a popular favorite in American cooking because of its versatility and adaptability to just about any cooking technique from grilling to frying. These fish lend themselves to quick and easy preparation in stews, appetizers and salads. They are delicious and sweet and yield mouth-watering meals.
This hearty stew was inspired by the cuisine of the Chesapeake Bay. The recipe uses dried herbs and spices; however, you could substitute fresh, if you like. Catfish nuggets are found in many supermarkets.
Catfish Stew 2 Tbs. canola or olive oil
1 large onion, coarsely chopped
1 green or red bell pepper, chopped
1-1 1/2 lbs. catfish nuggets cut into chunks
1/2 tsp. cumin
1 tsp. curry powder
1 tsp. Italian seasoning
1/2 tsp. thyme
1/2 tsp. basil
1/2 tsp. celery seed
1/2 tsp. red pepper flakes
1/2 to 1 tsp. garlic salt
1/4 tsp. cracked black pepper
1 can cannellini beans, drained
4 cups water
Pour oil in bottom of a Dutch oven. Heat over medium heat until hot. Sauté the bell pepper and onions for about 5 minutes. Add catfish and cook about 1 minute allowing flavors to blend. Add water, beans and remaining ingredients. Cover and simmer for about 15 minutes. Stir occasionally to prevent sticking. Serve over hot steamed rice. Makes about 4 servings