So Katie’s in Ireland and all of us sitting here reading this are so so so jealous. So jealous. A consolation to that is knowing that she’s having a great time (because we are nice people after all) and we’re here and get to talk about food. And food is fun, too!
Hi, I’m Chrissy from The Hungary Buddha and ironically I started my ‘round-the-globe blogging journey after I came back from my trip to Ireland because the food there is just so darn good (I mean, talk about farm to table!), and I can’t wait to hear what Katie thinks. And while I don’t blog about or subscribe to any one particular way of eating, I do very much believe in unprocessed, whole ingredients because, let’s face it, they just taste better. My motto is everything in moderation because I truly believe that my mind needs french fries as much as my body needs romaine lettuce. So there’s that.
I also think that flavor is KEY and there’s no point in ever eating boring food because there’s simply no reason to do so when there are a gazillion (actual number) of flavor combinations out there with which to play. This dish has quite a mouthful, so let’s talk about it.
One of my favorite things in life is barbecue. I crave it (maybe because it comes with some of the best side dishes, amiright?) and while I do enjoy the saucy kind, I’m always willing to mix it up and today for you, I’m using a rub rather than a sauce to deliver loads of spicy, smokey goodness to my BBQ catfish. And because sides are the best part of any barbecue, I’m pairing it with some cheesy cauliflower “grits.”
The rub comes from Peace, Love, and Barbecue, was really easy to throw together, and doesn’t require any out-of-the-ordinary spices. It makes a jar-full, so keep some aside because we’ve got a few weeks of summer left, and no doubt some more meat to grill. At least I do.
For the “grits,” I used all the flavors that I’d typically add to cornmeal grits to give it that authentic feel. Plus, a healthy handful of Parmesan makes the whole thing nice and creamy.
And finally, herbs and citrus on EVERYTHING because I grew up in Florida with a key lime tree in my backyard, and that’s just how we did things down there.
This is a quick one and can be thrown together is less than 30 minutes with minimal steps and minimal ingredients, all with maximum flavor. Who’s going to argue with that?
BBQ Catfish + Cauliflower Grits
Time: 30 mins
Yields: 4 servings
BBQ Rub Ingredients:
2 tbsp Hungarian paprika
2 tbsp smoked paprika
2 tbsp salt
2 tbsp granulated sugar *omit or substitute maple sugar for a slightly altered taste
1 tbsp mustard powder
2 tbsp chili powder
2 tbsp cumin
1 tbsp black pepper
2 tbsp granulated garlic
1 tbsp cayenne pepper
4 pieces of catfish
½ tbsp butter
Cauliflower "Grits" Ingredients:
1 head of cauliflower, cored, cut into florets, with as little stems as possible
water, enough for about 1" of water during cauliflower steps
1 tsp kosher salt
1 ½ tsp coarse ground black pepper
1 tbsp unsalted butter
1 tsp garlic, minced
½ cup fresh grated Parmesan cheese
¼ cup milk, your preference
1 tbsp Tabasco sauce
¼ tsp cayenne pepper
¼ tsp fresh cilantro, chopped
1 lime, juiced
Make the rub: Mix together all the rub ingredients and store in an airtight jar.
Prep the cauliflower. In a microwave-safe bowl, add the cauliflower florets and about 1” water. Cover tightly with either a lid or plastic wrap and microwave for 8-10 minutes until florets are fork tender with very little bite left. Be careful of the steam!
While the cauliflower is steaming, liberally sprinkle the BBQ rub on both sides of each fish fillet.
In a cast iron pan over medium-high heat, melt the 1/2 TB butter. Once the butter is melted, place each fillet in the pan, careful not to crowd (you may do this in 2 batches if necessary). Cook for 4 minutes, carefully flip and continue cooking for another 4 or until the fish flakes easily with a fork. Just before it’s finished, add the lime juice and cilantro. Cooking time may vary depending on the thickness of the fish.
Once the cauliflower has finished steaming, add the butter, salt and pepper and let melt. Add the milk, garlic, salt, pepper, cayenne and tobacco sauce.
Using an immersion blender, pulse the cauliflower until it resembles grits and the ingredients are well combined (you can also do this in a food processor) Do not overpulse! You want it to retain some integrity. Mix in the cheese, and season to taste.
Serve the grits along side the fish with added salt, pepper and lime juice as desired.
Chrissy Barua is a fundraiser by trade, a lawyer by education and an adventurer, food and otherwise, by nature. She learned to appreciate food from her mom, learned how to cook by watching Rachel Ray, and learned how to really eat and enjoy food from traveling with her equally hungry friends, and it’s because of her travel eats that she became a blogger over at The Hungary Buddha Eats the World. She collects recipes from everywhere: books, in-flight magazines, newspapers, the internet and, if she can connive it out of them, her friends and their grandmas. Her passport stamps hail from all corners of the globe, as do her favorite foods, flavors and stories. She’s always planning her next escape, and she can’t wait to see what’s next!
In other news, she co-runs an influencer community in Chicago called Chicagogrammers, even though she lives in Ann Arbor, Michigan, where she has learned to truly appreciate the wonder that is Zingerman’s Deli. When she’s not in the kitchen, she loves to play tennis, swim and have sing-alongs to the Michael Bolton Pandora station, much to the chagrin of her cat and roommate, Crawley.
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