This simple and delicious Creole inspired blackened catfish recipe is seasoned with homemade spice rub then topped with a savory tomato sauce.
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A version of this recipe was one of the first dishes I learned to make as a newlywed. I found the original recipe in a cookbook promoting canned soup. The appeal was that it was something different and it was easy to prepare. It quickly became one of our favorite meals.
Fast forward almost a decade of marriage and thousands of hours in the kitchen later. At some point, our dependable little catfish dinner fell out of favor. That is, until I revisited it recently and soon figured out why I stopped making it. It was bland. Bland … but with potential.
I wanted to bring new live to our old favorite my packing as much flavor as I could into the dish. I started by seasoning catfish fillets with my homemade bbq spice rub. I love using this as a rub for barbecue chicken. However, it proved to be just as versatile for a seasoning for blackened fish. I blackened my fish in a cast iron skillet with a little melted butter.
After I had the perfect crust on my blackened fish, I quickly melted another tablespoon of butter to quickly sauté a trio of diced bell peppers, celery, and onions. Once my vegetables were tender, I added some tomato sauce and seasonings for a tasty Creole-inspired sauce to drizzle over my catfish. You can spice this up by adding a little cayenne pepper or hot sauce. I usually omit this so it’s not too spicy for my kiddo.
This recipe would work on any flaky white fish such as cod, tilapia – I’ve even used it on red snapper. I like to serve it over seasoned white an wild rice with homemade cornbread on the side. I definitely think my changes made a huge improvement. We will be welcoming this dish back into the dinner rotation fold very soon.
Blackened Catfish with Creole Sauce
- 4 catfish fillets
- 2 tablespoons BBQ spice rub *
- 4 tablespoon unsalted butter divided
- 1 green bell pepper cored and diced
- ¼ cup diced celery
- ½ cup diced onion
- 2 cloves garlic minced
- 1 small can 8 oz. tomato sauce
- ½ teaspoon dried oregano
- 2 teaspoons Worcestershire sauce
- 1/8 teaspoon cayenne pepper optional
- A couple dashes of hot sauce optional
- Pat catfish fillets dry with a paper towel. Liberally season both sides with BBQ spice rub.
- Heat 2 tablespoons of butter in a large skillet over medium-high heat. Once the skillet is every hot, add the catfish. Cook until fish is browned and flaky, about 3-4 minutes per side. Remove fish from skillet and set aside. Keep warm.
- Melt the remaining 2 tablespoons of butter in the same skillet over medium heat. Add the bell pepper, celery, and onion. Sauté until tender, about seven minutes.
- Add the garlic and sauté for another minute.
- Pour in the tomato sauce.
- Stir in the oregano, Worcestershire, and cayenne and hot sauce, if using.
- Season sauce with salt and pepper to taste.
- Serve catfish with sauce drizzled over the top.