Tuesday, February 10, 2009

Cajun Catfish w/Plantains & Yogurt Sauce

Tuesday night was a night to stay in, drink inexpensive wine, and cook in the kitchen while watching one of the best events on TV all year long, the Westminster Kennel Club Dog Show. I sipped at some Cupcake Chardonnay I bought at my favorite liquor store, the House of Spirits.

Totally drinkable, no wood, some honeysuckle and peach. Pretty OK.

D sipped at an equally unnotable pinot noir. A little jammy, pretty light and innocuous.

Both from here:

I love this place. Once during one of our epic walks, I insisted we stop here for airplane bottle of tequila. Their collection is awe-inspiring. Not surprising in our neighborhood, really.

So, I started off with these Cajun rubbed catfish fillets. I didn't do them myself, why? Just because I am equal parts hard working and lazy and the hard working part had already been thrashed out of me during a long work day.

I started the yogurt sauce first. This Greek yogurt is beautiful and thick. Very tart.

I toyed with the idea of dried herbs, but love the taste and feel of fresh. I chopped chives and dill into the yogurt. In retrospect, I should also have added some salt.

I covered the mixture and put it in the fridge to let the flavors infuse while I cooked. I started the beans and Brussels sprouts.

For the beans, I threw in a little olive oil, red onions for color and garlic.

I drained a lot of the liquid out of the black beans.

Tossed them in with the garlic & onions to further reduce.

This is my new most recent discovery. I found these at Ralph's on 9th and Flower. Vacuum packed peeled whole cloves of garlic. A little more than double the price of buying the garlic completely fresh. So worth the money. Maybe 4-5 cloves are packed together. I used to buy the bottles of peeled cloves and always threw them away because they got moldy before I could use them all. I eventually gave up on this wasteful product. This solves both the time consuming problem of peeling the garlic and the problem of the waste. Yay.

To start the sprouts, I saute garlic and chili pepper flakes in a tablespoon of olive oil. The I toss in the sprouts and let their outsides get just a tiny bit soft and coated in olive oil.

Next, I pour chicken broth over them and let them simmer til the broth is completely gone. I could tell as soon as I added it that there was too much broth in the pan. The broth should only come to about halfway up the side of the sprout themselves.

The broth continues to cook down.

The finished product. A thoroughly cooked sprout with very little fat but tons of flavor, slightly caramelized on the outside. These turned out delicious, just a little softer than I prefer.

This 3 year old Great Dane caught my attention during the evening, and I could not take my eyes off him. His name is Sasdania's The Prophecy. Whatever. If he were mine, I would name him Shadow. Because I know he would follow me around the house just like Daisy does. He wants to come live here. I can tell. Sari Brewster Tietjen showed no love for the larger varieties Tuesday night. I can tell by looking at her that she is a small dog person. Apparently the breed she is personally associated with is the Japanese chin. Meh. That does not even qualify as a dog in my house.

Who wouldn't love a face like that? I want to kiss his soft velvety snout!

Anyway! D took one look at the plantain on the counter, thought it was a rotten banana and tossed it. Guess who was a trash digger Tuesday evening? Any gold earrings in there, D?

Plantains are a beautiful fruit, firmer and less sweet than a typical banana.

And quite a bit larger.

I put these in the pan just a few minutes before I cooked the fish. The plate looked lovely.

Ultimately, I was trying to recreate a dish I ate at the Terrace Cafe. We go to the Terrace right on the beach in Venice for family dinners about once a month. I love their snapper with plantains and yogurt sauce. Mine however, was a little bland. Everything was fresh and lovely, but I should have salted everything a little more. Failure to use salt will probably be engraved on my headstone.


northparkgreatdanes.com said...

Hi Thanks For the support for Leopold the Great Dane. He is like a shadow and always wants to be in the same room we are. He loves to cook as well. He especially loves when we cook with butter. Whole sticks of butter have been known to go missing off the countertop !

Jenny Kinnier said...

Liz, I love your blog. I'm having so much fun reading about everyday dinners and all your wild adventures, which you somehow seem to make every day into. Miss you guys tons....


Jenny Kinnier said...

Liz, I love your blog. I'm having so much fun reading about everyday dinners and all your wild adventures, which you somehow seem to make every day into. Miss you guys tons....


Food, she thought. said...

Dear Northpark:

Was Prophecy your Great Dane? Or are you appreciating my support of Great Dane sin general? I have a black female...3 years.


So glad you are reading! I would love to see you guys sometime when you are in town.....we make it to Sac so rarely and would love to see you as an old married couple!

It's With A K said...

L, you are such an inspiration in the kitchen (as well as outside of the kitchen). The brussel sprouts sound so delicious. I haven't had plantains in a dog's age, either. Thank you for reminding me of them.

By the way, I made the risotto with red argentinian shrimps the other night for my friend's birthday. WOW, the flavor of the shrimps was amazing!!!! I didn't have red pepper flakes so I just used cracked black pepper instead....and copious amounts of white wine, of course :-)

Thank you for sharing through your blog!



Kristine G. said...

Maybe your head stone should be actually *be* a slab of salt, no? :) hehe

LOVE that you always throw in little snippets of handy things - like the garlic, what you're watching on tv as you're cooking, the fact that your adorable hubs accidentally throws the plantain in the trash. :)

I thought for some reason the plantains would be fried, but the charred parts looks really yummy and rustic.

Don't hate me for being a copycat but I'm going to have to try this recipe at home one of these days. ♥

Food, she thought. said...

I am so excited you tried the risotto. I may make it again for friends next weekend, I am on the fence. Those shrimps are deliciousness.

I did fry the plantains....if you7 try this dish fry them in butter at a lower heat for a long time to get them to caramelize a little.

Anonymous said...

I came upon this looking for a recipe for plantains the way the "Great Dane" Bar and Grill does them. About your plantains ending up more bland than you got them out, I don't think it had anything to do with your cooking. I don't think you were using them ripe. A ripe plantain's peal is completely black. You have to wait till they look like much more rotten bananas than the one you pictured, lol. If you use them like you pictured they'll end up more like potatoes, starchy and hard, not soft and sweet.

Food, she thought. said...

Anonymous, Thank you for the tip. Next time I will look for dark plantains, or buy them early and let them ripen.