Tuesday, June 20, 2006

Cornmeal-Crusted Catfish and Green Rice Pilaf

From Rachael Ray: 365 No Repeats

5 Tbsp extra-virgin olive oil (EVOO)
1 Tbs unsalted butter
1 large shallot, finely chopped
1 Tbsp fresh thyme leaves, chopped
salt and fresh ground black pepper
1 1/2 C long-grain rice
1/2 C dry white wine
3 C chicken stock or broth
1/2 C fresh flat-leaf parsley leaves
1/2 pound fresh spinach leaves, trimmed and cleaned
20 fresh basil leaves
1 lemon, 1/2 juiced, the other half cut in wedges
4 6-8oz catfish fillets
1 C yellow cornmeal

Preheat the oven to 400.

Bring a medium sauce pot filled three-quarters full with water to a boil.

Heat a second medium saucepan or pot over moderate heat. Add 1 tablespoon EVOO, butter, shallots, thyme, salt, and pepper. Saute the shallots for 2 minutes, then add the rice and lightly brown, 3-5 minutes. Add the wine and allow it to evaporate entirely, 1-2 minutes. Add the chicken stock and bring to a boil. Cover the rice and reduce the heat. Cook 18-20 minutes, until tender.

Salt the boiling water in the other pot and add the parsley, spinach, and basil. Stir to submerge the greens for 30 seconds, then carefully take the pot to the sink. Use a slotted spoon or spider to remove the greens to a colander. Discard the water. Rinse the greens under slow-running cold water to stop the cooking process. Give the greens a gently squeeze to get rid of the excess water. Transfer the cooled, drained greens to a blender or food processor. Add about 2 tablespoons of EVOO and the lemon juice. Puree until completely smooth. Reserve the puree for finishing the cooked rice.

Preheat a large oven-safe nonstick skillet over medium-high heat. Add the remaining 2 tablespoons of EVOO. Season the catfish with salt and pepper and coat evenly and completely in the cornmeal. Add the coated fish to the hot skillet and sear for 2 minutes on each side, then transfer the skillet with the fish to the oven and continue to cook 8-10 minutes, until the fish is firm to the touch and opaque.

Once the rice is cooked, add the reserved greens puree and stir with a fork to combine and fluff the rice. Pile the rice onto dinner plates and serve the catfish on top. Pass the lemon wedges at the table.

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