My boyfriend (wait, make that fiancé!) recently made a special request. He asked to purchase a wok, in the event that it remain exclusively his. I can be a bit territorial in the kitchen, but I was happy to release my tight grasp in the name of
good food love.
I sent him a few trustworthy links to assist in his purchasing research, but after that he was on his own. A few days later a shiny new wok arrived on our doorstep. Many hours—and one very smoky house later—that same shiny wok was a deep, matte black. I was impressed at his thoroughness but even more excited at the meals I knew were to come.
I took the reigns as slicer and dicer, but the actual cooking was in the hands of my man. Our first meal was lettuce wraps; we dirtied every single dish in the kitchen but all in all it was a grand success. With more and more meals under our belt, we've fallen hard for the powers of the wok. Okay, okay, I know I'm a bit late in this discovery. Really though, it can do anything! Deep fry? Check. Boil water? Check. I've become more and more interested in how it can be geared towards my style of cooking—technically it's the equivalent of the South's cast iron skillet.
After all of the rich foods of the holidays, I've been craving some lighter flavors, and fish always makes me feel virtuous. Cajun-style blackening is something normally done in a cast iron, so I figured it would be a perfect experiment for the wok. We made these spicy catfish fajitas last weekend as a quick lunch for two; they are definitely going into our weekly rotation. So flavorful, so delicious, yet so easy...
I'm so excited to use my wok for more experiments. Next up in our house: Southern wok-fried chicken! What do you use your wok for?
Blackened Catfish Fajitas
For the blackening seasoning
1 tablespoon paprika
1 teaspoon black pepper
1 teaspoon dried oregano
1 teaspoon sugar
1 teaspoon kosher salt
1/2 teaspoon garlic powder
1/2 teaspoon cayenne pepper, or to taste
For the fajitas
Sunflower oil, or other high smoking point oil
1 onion, peeled and sliced
1 red bell pepper, cored, seeded, and sliced
1 green bell pepper, cored, seeded, and sliced
1 pound catfish filets, cut into 1-1/2 inch pieces (or snapper or mahi)
3 tablespoons butter, melted
Blackening seasoning (recipe above)
Kosher salt and pepper, to taste
8 small flour tortillas, warmed
Cotija cheese, or other Mexican crumbling cheese
For the blackening seasoning, combine all of the dry ingredients and set aside.
For the fajitas, heat a wok (or cast iron skillet) over highest heat. Add a couple of tablespoons of sunflower oil. When the oil is hot, add the onions and bell peppers, sprinkle with salt and black pepper, and saute until tender, about 5 - 7 minutes. Remove the veggies and set aside.
Toss the catfish pieces in the melted butter; then thoroughly coat the pieces in the blackening rub. Working in two batches, place the fish into the hot wok—adding more oil if necessary—and cook the fish until cooked through and dark in color, about 3 minutes per batch. Add the veggies back into the pot and toss to combine thoroughly. Season with additional salt and pepper, to taste.
Serve the catfish fajitas with warm tortillas, sour cream, cotija cheese, and limes.
Related: Recipe: Catfish with Lemon Basil Cream Sauce
(Images: Nealey Dozier)