Apr 22, 2013

Fish Story {Roasted Okra and Tomato Topped Blackened Catfish}

Spring Break for The Boy included a Mama and Boy only fishing trip.  The last time there was a Mama and Boy only fishing trip there may have been shrieks and near-tears over a largish catfish who swallowed a hook so badly he damn near pooped it out.  And me one of us not real keen on grabbing catfish for fear of being stuck.  

This time around there was no hook-swallowing catfish.  Only an encounter with a cottonmouth.  The Boy got too close to weeds along the bank.  He took a step, then I saw him jump and run.  I damn near pooped this time around.

We didn't catch a single thing.  Ensuring no swallowed hooks.  Shrieking.  Or almost-crying.

Ooops.  I just broke a rule of fishing.

Fishermen are funny people.  I learned long ago that when asked if you're catching, there are specific things you should and should never say.  Even if you are having the trip of your life, you never admit to it out there on the water for fear that someone may fish "your spot."   Save the amazing fish stories for after you get home.  Safely distanced from "your spot."

Then stretch the story a bit.  

And definitely be vague with the details about where you were fishing.

Flip side.  When having the most rotten trip ever, never say "no" when asked if you're catching.  Even if it's the truth.  In this case it really doesn't matter if someone barges in on "your spot."  Your spot sucks.  Anyone is welcome to it, possibly leaving an even better spot open for you.  This situation is more about pride.  The proper answer here is the blurry, "we're doing alright."  

Those friends of yours are stretching their stories.  You can't answer their "we limited out" responses with a big fat nada.

Of course, all of these shenanigans are just that.  Shenanigans.  Everyone knows what everyone else is really up to.

This is what I'm up to.  Blackened catfish topped with pan roasted okra and tomatoes.  Served on top of cheesy garlic grits.

Unlike a fisherman, I will tell you the what, where, when, and how.
No story stretching or haziness either.

This was awesome!  If I do say so myself.  (Myself says so for sure.)
Everything came together just right to form this ultra-Southern dish.

I mean, blackened catfish, people!  Cheesy garlic grits!

The Husband said I finally found a way he likes okra.  The Boy's summation: "I have a healthy prostate."  (Tomatoes).  

Everyone happy and healthy.

I really wanted cherry tomatoes for the stuff on top of the fish.  But my plants aren't ready.  Turns out that the Romas I "settled" for worked out well since I could cut them into strips, matching the shape of the halved okra pods.

This is a lighter version of okra stewed with tomatoes.  Pan roasting okra is something I've seen here and there--reading that even people who dislike okra like it this way.  Roasting it in the cast iron skillet gave it a surprisingly smoky flavor.  
Great results and no okra slime.

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Roasted Okra & Tomato Topped Blackened Catfish 

for the okra & tomatoes:
6-8 oz okra pods, halved lengthwise
2 Roma tomatoes, seeded and cut into strips
1 Tbsp olive oil, dividedabout 1/2 tsp Tony's Creole Seasoning, divided

Preheat a cast iron skillet while you cut the okra and tomatoes.  Keep the two separate   On your cutting board, drizzle 1/2 Tbsp olive oil over the okra and season with half of the Tony's.  Toss to coat.  Repeat with the tomatoes, using the remaining oil and Tony's.  When the skillet is screaming hot, add the okra and cook for about 5-7 minutes, stirring the pods to evenly brown.  Add the tomatoes and cook for an additional 4-5 minutes more.  Keep warm while cooking the fish.  

for the blackened catfish:
4 catfish fillets4 Tbsp butter
about 2-3 Tbsp blackening seasoning (below)

OUTDOORS, heat a cast iron skillet until very hot.  Meanwhile, melt the butter.   Brush the fillets with a light coating of butter.  Place the seasoning in a plate and place the fillets on top of the seasoning, rounded side down.  Press the fish into the seasoning.  Repeat with the flat side of the fillets.  When your skillet is ready, spoon a little butter into the skillet where you will place the fish.  Immediately add the fish, rounded side down.  Cook about 2-3 minutes, checking to make sure the fish is not burning.  Flip and cook 2-3 minutes more.  Remove to a warm oven if cooking in batches.

Serve the fish with the okra tomato mixture on top.  If serving over grits, see below.

Standard Blackening Seasoning
1 Tbsp paprika
1/2 Tbsp salt
1 Tbsp garlic powder
1 Tbsp onion powder
1 tsp black pepper
1 tsp cayenne pepper
1 tsp dried thyme
1 tsp dried oregano

Combine all spices.  Store in an airtight container.  Makes about 1/3 cup.

Cheesy Garlic Grits

olive oil
3 cloves garlic, minced
3 c chicken broth
salt and pepper, to taste
1 c grits
1 c grated cheese

Add a splash of olive oil to a saucepan.  Briefly saute the garlic until fragrant.  Add the chicken broth and season to taste with salt and pepper (grits need a fair amount of salt).  Bring to a boil and whisk in the grits.  Simmer until grits are tender.  Remove from heat and stir in the cheese.

linking with:
Jam Hands  Hearth and Soul blog hop at Premeditated Leftovers Feeding Big
Love Bakes Good Cakes
nap-time creations
White Lights on Wednesdays
Miz Helen’s Country Cottage Photobucket
BWS tips button Freedom Fridays My Button!


  1. Oh dear, I laughed so much reading this, I damn near pooped myself!! This dish looks amazing, Michelle. We don't get catfish in New Zealand, but I'm sure I can find a suitable alternative. Okra is not often available here either, and I've always been a bit afraid to try it because I've heard people talk about it being a bit slimey, but you've made this look so good I totally want to try it the next time okra pops anywhere here.

  2. I didn't realize there were so many rules and superstitions to fishing! Crazy. :) So glad to hear you had a good time with the boy and had some good food at the end of the day!

  3. You are so funny Michelle, you have a way with words! Hahaha! Thank you for sharing all the interesting things about rules on fishing! Makes me smile!
    Your catfish dish and okra looks simply delicious!

  4. interesting... :o) thanks for linking up to Tasteful Tuesdays at Nap-Time Creations... Winners for the giveaway will be announced Wed... Have you entered?

  5. You are FUNNY Michelle !!
    I don't eat fish (I'm a vegetarian) but everyone in my family would really appreciate it.

  6. Michelle, great post. I am pinnning this and intend to make your blackening mix - all flavours that I like but haven't put together. Cheers

  7. Hi Michelle,
    We planted our Okra in the garden yesterday, can't wait for that fresh Okra. This is sure a dish I want to try with my garden okra. Your recipe is fabulous and thank you so much for sharing with Full Plate Thursday. Have a great weekend and come back soon!
    Miz Helen

  8. I wish we could catch meaty fish like catfish in upstate NY. There are a few but they are hard to come by... mostly trout which is tasty but not like a catfish,,,love your recipe always great to learn more a Louisiana which might as well be a foreign country...it is so different from where I live.

  9. This looks really good, and a fish dish my husband would actually eat! Thanks for sharing on Foodie Friday

  10. I pinned this the other day and I still think it sounds fabulous! Thanks so much for joining us at last week's All my Bloggy Friends .... We look forward to seeing what you share this week!


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