I like to use the Monterey Bay Aquarium's Seafood Watch recommendations to
get sustainable seafood. Visiting earlier tonight, I ran across their recipe
page. The thing which caught my attention was the fact that the chefs
providing the recipes are people whose cooking I respect a lot, including
Rick Bayless, Suzanne Goin, and Rick Moonen.


Their August recipe is for catfish with a black-eyed pea vinaigrette, which
I think I'll save for New Year's Day. Chef Regina Charboneau writes: "As a
Southerner, I always use ingredients that are true to this area of the
country but with a little bit of a twist. The combination of the catfish
with smoked tomatoes, black-eyed peas and vinegar all works really well
together." It's also versatile; the fish is delicious alone or with one or
both sauces. Make the tomato sauce on the weekend and you’ll have a quick
and delicious weeknight meal."

Catfish with Black-Eyed Pea Vinaigrette

(Serves 4)
2 pounds catfish filets
1 tablespoon flour
1/2 teaspoon salt
1/4 teaspoon granulated garlic powder
1/8 teaspoon cayenne pepper
1/8 teaspoon cracked black pepper
1/8 teaspoon fennel seeds
1/2 teaspoon paprika
2 1/2 tablespoons olive oil
2 cups smoked tomato coulis (optional, recipe below)
2 cups black-eyed pea vinaigrette (optional, recipe below)

Note: Prepare the tomato sauce and black-eyed pea vinaigrette in advance if
you plan to use them.

Cut the catfish into four portions.

Mix the flour, salt, garlic, cayenne, black pepper, fennel and paprika.
Sprinkle this mixture evenly over the filets.

Place a cast iron skillet over medium heat and let it get hot before adding
2 tablespoons of oil. Add the filets and cook for 4-5 minutes on the first
side until the fish has a good rich color. Turn the fish over and cook 3-4
more minutes. Allow plenty of room in the pan for each piece of fish,
cooking in batches if necessary.

Serve as is, or spoon warm tomato sauce on a plate, place the catfish on top
and cover with the black-eyed pea vinaigrette.

Smoked Tomato Coulis
2 tablespoons olive oil
1 medium onion, cut into eight pieces
3 medium carrots, cut into four pieces each
3 cups canned, diced tomatoes in juice
1 dozen oven-smoked Roma tomatoes (see recipe below)
2 tablespoons pickled jalapeno
8 fresh basil leaves
5 cloves garlic
2 bay leaves

Note: This recipe makes two quarts. It freezes well and is great to have on
hand to enhance other dishes.

Place a large pot over medium heat and let it get hot before adding the
olive oil, onion and carrots. Sauté for 5 minutes.

Add the tomatoes, jalapenos, basil, garlic and bay leaves. Cook over medium
heat for 35-40 minutes.

Remove the bay leaves and pour mixture into a food processor. Pulse into a
course puree (not soupy).

Green Tartar Sauce
(Makes about 2 1/2 cups)
1/4 chopped cornichons
1 tablespoon chopped capers
1 medium shallot, coarsely chopped
2 cups mayonnaise
1/2 teaspoon Dijon mustard
1 1/2 heaping tablespoons chopped fresh dill
2 heaping tablespoons chopped fresh chives
2 heaping tablespoons chopped fresh flat-leaf parsley
1 teaspoon fresh lemon juice
1/2 teaspoon freshly ground white pepper
1/4 cup olive oil

This sauce is best made ahead. Letting it sit in the refrigerator for about
24 hours gives the flavors time to develop.

Drop the cornichons, capers, and shallot into a food processor. Process for
a few seconds just to combine. Add the mayonnaise, mustard, herbs, lemon
juice, and white pepper and process for about eight seconds to blend well.
Scrape down the sides. With the motor running, add the oil in a slow, steady

Scrape the tartar sauce out into an airtight container, cover, and
refrigerate for 24 hours before using.

Oven-Smoked Tomatoes
(Serves 4)
1 dozen Roma tomatoes (or other plum tomato variety)
1/2 cup olive oil
3 tablespoons hickory liquid smoke
1 tablespoons sea salt
1 tablespoon cracked black pepper

Cut tomatoes into quarters and lay on a baking sheet with sides.

Mix the olive oil with the hickory liquid smoke and drizzle over the cut
tomatoes. Sprinkle with salt and pepper and bake at 300 degrees for 45

[BOB'S NOTE: If you are opposed to liquid smoke, you can salt and pepper the
cut tomatoes and hot-smoke them for about 2 hours.]

Black-Eyed Pea Vinaigrette
(Serves 4)
2 shallots
1/3 cup cider vinegar
2/3 cup light salad oil
2 teaspoon brown sugar
1/2 cup thinly sliced green onion
2 cups canned black-eyed peas

Rinse the peas and chill.

Puree the shallots in a blender or food processor. Add the cider vinegar,
brown sugar and salt. Blend and slowly add oil to emulsify.

Combine the peas, green onions and vinaigrette in a bowl. Chill and use to
top the hot catfish right before serving.

[BOB'S NOTE: Canned black-eyed peas can't measure up to fresh. I'd much
rather cook fresh black-eyed peas and let them sit in the vinaigrette for
about an hour before using.]