Recipe: Catfish with Lemon Basil Cream Sauce

published May 29, 2007
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Summer is here, more or less, and we’re cooking easy, light and quick. This catfish recipe is one of the easiest, quickest dinners we know; it also happens to be one of our favorites.

We learned this technique for flash frying thin fish fillets from Mark Bittman. It’s fast and easy; the only challenge is that you have to be very careful turning the fish in hot, spluttering oil and butter. It’s worth it – they don’t come out greasy at all, but with a thin, delicate golden crust and a melting interior. The sauce practically makes itself; you can put this together in under 15 minutes and have time left to spare for the salad.

Catfish with Lemon Basil Cream Sauce
serves 2

2 catfish fillets
Salt and pepper
2 tablespoons butter
1 tablespoon olive oil
1 lemon, juiced
1/3 cup cream
1/4 cup fresh basil leaves, chopped (about 1 tablespoon)

Pat the fish dry and rub with salt and pepper. Heat the butter and olive oil in a large, heavy skillet over high heat just until smoking. Lay the fillets in the skillet carefully, using long-handled tongs. Fry for about three minutes on each side, then remove from the pan to two plates.

Turn the heat to medium and whisk the lemon juice into the remaining fat. Whisk in the cream and basil and let boil for about a minute or until just reduced. Drizzle over the fish and serve immediately.