Tuesday, April 17, 2012

General Tso's Catfish

A general cannot live by chicken alone.  That is the thought that passed through my mind when I decided to take the classic dish -- General Tso's Chicken -- and make a pescatarian version of it.  This recipe is an adaptation inspired by the one person who always inspires my cooking ... my beautiful Angel. 

The key to this dish is the pan-frying of the fish, rather than deep frying.  Don't get me wrong, I like deep fried fish.  I can remember as a kid going with my family to all-you-can-eat fish frys on Friday night.  I ate catfish fillet after catfish fillet.  A lot of time has passed, and, since then, I lean toward pan frying food rather than deep frying fish.  Recently, I found a General Tso's Chicken recipe from Food & Wine.  It was contributed by Grace Parisi, who described the recipe as one that is "adored" by Midtown Lunch blogger Zach Brooks. 

The thing I liked the most about Parisi's recipe is that it called for pan-frying, lightly coated chicken.   This method works well with fish (and pretty much most other proteins).  I knew I had a recipe that I could make General Tso's Catfish. 

However, the recipe needed a couple of alterations in order to make it fish-friendly.  First, I substituted catfish for the chicken.  Second, I substituted seafood stock for the chicken stock.  Third, I substituted Sambal Oelek for the chile-garlic sauce.  With these changes, the end result was still very delicious.  My inspiration wants me to make this dish again.  That is always a sign of success!

Adapted from Grace Parisi's recipe
contributed to Food & Wine

1 1/2 teaspoons of toasted sesame oil
1 large egg white
1/4 cup plus 1 tablespoon of soy sauce
1/4 cup plus 3 tablespoons of corn starch
1 pound of catfish fillets or catfish nuggets
1 cup of seafood stock
1 teaspoon of Sambal Oelek
3 tablespoons of sugar
1 tablespoon of vegetable oil, plus more for frying
2 tablespoons of fresh ginger, finely diced
2 large garlic cloves, diced
4 scallions, thinly sliced
Steamed broccoli
White rice

1.  Prepare the catfish. In a medium bowl, combine the toasted sesame oil with the egg white, one tablespoon of soy sauce and 1/4 cup plus two tablespoons of corn starch.  Add the fish, stirring to coat.  Let stand at room temperature for twenty minutes.

2.  Prepare the sauce.  In a small bowl, whisk the seafood broth with the Sambal Oelek, sugar and remaining 1/4 cup of soy sauce and 1 tablespoon of cornstarch.  In a large saucepan, heat one tablespoon of oil.  Add the ginger and garlic and cook over high heat until fragrant, which should take about one minute.    Stir in the broth mixture, add it to the pan and cook until thickened and glossy, about three minutes.  Keep the sauce warm over low heat.

3.  Cook the catfish.  In a large deep skillet, heat 1/2 inch of oil until shimmering.  Add the fish, one piece at a time and fry over high heat, turning once or twice, until very browned and crisp, about four minutes.  Drain the fish on paper towels and add to the sauce immediately with the scallions.    Cook until just coated, about thirty seconds.

4.  Plate the dish. Spoon some rice and add some broccoli to the plate.  Spoon the catfish with the sauce next to the rice. 


Food & Wine suggests a Prosecco as a good pairing for this dish.  The effervescence of the wine helps to cut through the sauce that coats the fish.  To this end, Cava and other sparkling wines could also work well. 


No comments:

Related Posts Plugin for WordPress, Blogger...