Pan-Seared Catfish with Papaya Chutney Over Creamy Cheddar Jalapeño Grits
To impress anyone’s palate in both flavor and intense spiciness, try this recipe. It was the entree of our Can You Beat the Heat? dinner party for family, friends, and readers, and it was a hit; making it more enjoyable was the milkshake to help cool down between bites.
Makes 6 (it’s best to make this in small batches, even if you have way more than 6 guests)
• For the papaya chutney:
2 cups of peeled and seeded papaya meat
1/2 cup of diced red onion
1/4 cup of raisins
1/4 cup of water
1/8 cup of crystallized ginger
3 tbs. of red wine vinegar
2 tbs. of Blair’s Beyond Death Sauce
2 tbs. of brown sugar
1 tbs. of soybean oil
1 garlic clove
Pinch of salt
In a small saucepan, heat the oil over medium-low heat to saute the diced red onion and garlic clove for about 6 minutes until tender.
Add all other ingredients, bring to a simmer, then reduce to the lowest heat setting and cook for about 30 minutes.
You want to achieve a consistency of a super thick and chunky applesauce.
• For the grits:
2 1/2 cups of water
1 1/2 cups of shredded cheddar cheese
1 1/2 cups of whole milk
1 cup of Bob’s Red Mill organic grits
3 tbs. of Blair’s Jalapeño Death Sauce
2 tbs. of butter
2 tbs. of kosher salt
Combine the water and milk in a small saucepan with the salt and bring to a light simmer on medium heat. Once simmering, reduce to medium-low and add the grits and hot sauce. Cook for 6-10 minutes, depending on the desired texture (shorter time for al dente, longer for softer). Stir frequently and scrape down the sides and bottom of the pan to make sure nothing sticks. After 6-10 minutes, remove from heat and stir in the cheese and butter. Taste test for saltiness and add a pinch if necessary. Let sit for a minute, then serve.
• For the catfish:
6 catfish filets
1 tbs. of butter
Salt and pepper for seasoning
Heat a large saute pan over medium-high heat, and melt the butter. Season both sides of the filets with salt and pepper, then lay each one in the pan, one at a time and 15 seconds apart so as not to shock-cool the pan and the butter. Depending on the size of the pan, cook only 2-3 filets at a time. Cook about 4 minutes on each side until they achieve a nice golden brown crust. The fish will be firm and slightly flaky when done.
Layer the chutney over the filet on top of a scoop of grits. Sprinkle a little more Jalapeño Death for good measure.