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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:

chutney ingredients

chutney ingredients

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

sauteing onion and garlic

sauteing onion and garlic

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.

stewing the chutney

stewing the chutney

Add all other ingredients, bring to a simmer, then reduce to the lowest heat setting and cook for about 30 minutes.

done

done

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.

catfish, papaya chutney, cheddar jalapeño grits

catfish, papaya chutney, cheddar jalapeño grits

Layer the chutney over the filet on top of a scoop of grits.  Sprinkle a little more Jalapeño Death for good measure.

Shrimp and Grits with Bacon Vinaigrette

You might travel for Memorial Day, but we bet that most of your meals will be in someone’s home.  Even if you do a staycation for the long weekend in your own town, it is likely that you, family, or friends will host a barbecue or food-related gathering.  For the next few days, we are going on a cooking spree to bring you recipes tested by Chef Zach (and taste approved by August), to inspire you to try something new or different this weekend.  We recommend you serve this with roasted root vegetables and jalapeño cornbread.

• For the vinaigrette:

4 oz. of salt cured bacon

1/2 cup of balsamic vinegar

1 shallot

2 scallions (aka green onions)

1 tbs. of dijon mustard

Mince the shallot and chop the scallions.  Dice the bacon in 1/8-inch pieces.  Heat a large skillet over medium on the stove top, and cook the bacon for 8-10 minutes until the fat has been rendered and the meat begins to crisp.

adding the shallot

adding the shallot

Add the shallot to the bacon and continue cooking on medium until tender.

mix in the vinegar

mix in the vinegar

Pour in the balsamic vinegar and cook for 1 minute.

now with the scallions

now with the scallions

Add the chopped scallions and cook for an additional 15 seconds.  It is now ready to be spooned and drizzled over the grits.

• For the grits:

2 cups of Clover Dairy whole milk

1 cup of water

1 cup of Bob’s Red Mill organic grits

1 tbs. of butter

1 tsp. of kosher salt

creamy and done

creamy and done

Combine the water and milk in a small saucepan with the salt and bring to a boil on medium-high heat.  Once boiling, reduce to just slightly below medium and add the grits.  Cook for 5-6 minutes, stirring frequently and scraping down the sides and bottom to make sure nothing sticks.  After 5-6 minutes, remove from heat and stir in the butter.  Let sit for a minute, then serve.

• For the shrimp:

3/4 lb. of cleaned, peeled, deveined, and uncooked shrimp

1/2 cup of Old Bay seasoning

Water for boiling

succulent

succulent

Fill a medium saucepot with water, add the seasoning, and bring to a slight boil over medium heat.  Add the shrimp and let cook for 5 minutes.  Pull out of the water with a spider (the most efficient way to grab them all at once and drain at the same time). Serve immediately; Chef Zach recommends not to do an ice bath, because that takes away some of the flavor and you want your shrimp to be warm.

in beautiful arakawa pottery

in beautiful arakawa pottery