I was craving an array of veggies tonight and luckily, my local market complied by offering an incredible bounty of flavors, colors and textures. I ultimately opted for zucchini, corn, okra, onion, cheery tomatoes, and arugula, dressed with a bit of thyme and garlic. I couldn’t think of anything that spelled out summer and complimented the vegetables more than some crispy panko-crusted catfish, served simply with lemon.
It turned out to be a truly amazing summer meal – a veritable feast for the eyes and the palate! To lighten it up a bit, I flash-fried the fish in just a bit of canola oil to get a nice crispy texture on the outside, and then finished it in the oven, so that it did not have a chance to absorb much more oil. It was sublime!
We rounded out the meal with a locally sourced oak-finished chardonnay and some canary melon and watermelon cubes, tossed with chopped mint. Perfect! I hope you enjoy a summer dish like this in the near future and you can definitely play around with the vegetable choices and fish options – rockfish, tilapia, trout, snapper, or even seared scallops would all have been great with this. I love okra, but the dish would stand on its own with out it. If you want to make it more indulgent, I’d suggest cooking a few slices of bacon, removing them form the pan, and then sautéing the vegetables in the bacon grease, adding the crumbled bacon to the finished dish just before serving. Enjoy!
For the Fish:
1 ½ lbs. catfish or other flaky white fish fillets, cut into strips or fingers
1 egg, beaten
¾ cup panko bread crumbs
1 tsp Old Bay Seasoning
Salt and Pepper to Taste
2 Tbsp Canola Oil