Chef Sara Moulton & Her “Fried” Catfish BLTs

One of the major stumbling blocks for many Sudden Bachelors is food (lack of, preparation, etc). While we’ve delivered a few somewhat edible recipes, most of you will default back to pizza. So SBs, in an effort to help bring some new flavor to your lives, we are very excited to have our friend Celebrity Chef Sara Moulton check in and hand pick one of her recipes from her new book “Sara Moulton’s Everyday Family Dinners” (Simon and Schuster, 2010) specifically for you Sudden Bachelors. If you want more Sara, be sure to check her out on The Cooking Channel and Good Morning America. Now – over to Chef Sara Moulton:

“Fried” Catfish BLTs

This is a good recipe for a Sudden Bachelor because:
A. It is not something alien – meaning it is simply a take on a BLT and
B. It is a perfect recipe for a novice and
C. It is healthy and filling, basically enough for dinner with just a simple side dish such as cole slaw

The Husband tends to scorn the BLT as an “air sandwich.”  Of course it’s delicious – nobody ever goes far wrong as long as bacon’s involved – but it’s hardly what you’d call filling.  That’s why I’ve bulked up the traditional BLT with some “fried” fish.  (Actually, the fish is breaded and sautéed, which gives it that fried crunch without all the oil.)  I’ve also tricked up the standard-issue mayo with some fresh basil and a little lemon zest.  The result is a sandwich buff enough to kick sand in the face of the skinny little BLT.  Indeed, it is a sandwich worthy of dinner entrée status.


8 slices bacon (about 7 ounces)
2 plum tomatoes
Kosher salt
3/4 cup mayonnaise
1/4 cup fresh basil leaves
1/2 teaspoon freshly grated lemon zest
Freshly ground black pepper
4 slices firm white bread
1/4 cup Wondra or unbleached all-purpose flour
1 large egg
Four 4-ounce catfish fillets
¼ cup extra virgin olive oil
8 slices rustic bread
4 large leaves romaine lettuce

1. Preheat the oven to 400°F. Arrange the bacon on a rack on a rimmed baking sheet and bake 12 to 15 minutes until crisp. Drain on paper towels.

2. Meanwhile, slice the tomatoes 1/3-inch thick. Lightly salt them on both sides and set them aside 10 minutes; pat them dry. Combine the mayonnaise, basil, lemon zest, 1/4 teaspoon salt, and 1/8 teaspoon pepper in a blender and puree. Pulse the bread in a blender or food processor to make 2 cups fresh bread crumbs.

3. Spread out the flour and crumbs in separate pie plates lined with wax paper or parchment; beat the egg in a bowl. Season the catfish fillets with salt and pepper; working with one fillet at a time, toss them in the flour, lifting the wax paper on both sides to move them around; shake off the excess flour. Dip them into the egg, letting the excess drip off, and finally into the crumbs, shaking off any excess.

4. Heat 2 tablespoons olive oil in a large nonstick skillet over medium heat until hot. Sauté the catfish about 5 minutes per side or until golden and just cooked through Add the remaining 2 tablespoons olive oil when you turn the pieces.

5. Toast the bread. Place 4 slices on serving plates and spread the top sides with some of the mayonnaise mixture; top each with lettuce, bacon, tomatoes, and a catfish fillet. Spread one side of the remaining toast slices with the mayonnaise mixture and place them, mayo side down, on the sandwiches. Cut each sandwich in half and serve.

Yields 4 servings
Hands-on time: 30 minutes
Total preparation time: 30 minutes

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