I share one of my very favorite lakeside barbeque recipes – the perfect blackened catfish with garlic-honey aioli & al fresco purple kale-slaw – one of my very favorite fish to cast for and reel in during the late fall. These fresh water beasts tend to group together and lie in lower depths during the later months of the year. Although a bit more lethargic than in summer months, when the fish strikes bait – prepare yourself for a long, hard fight!
Once ashore, the catfish is carefully fileted with a razor-sharp knife, then liberally seasoned with a blackened herb mix, grilled over the searing infrared heat of white-hot charcoal and hardwoods, then chopped into chunks and tossed in a roasted garlic-honey aioli. Topped with an al fresco charred sweet corn kale-slaw, then loaded over buttered and toasted artisan rolls. This feast is rounded by dozens of baked scallops in the half shell, a garden of fresh greens, and a crisp, gorgeous craft-brewed gold coast pilsner.
Blackened Catfish Sandwich with Garlic-Honey Aioli and Southern Purple Kaleslaw
- Garlic-Honey Aioli:
- 1 cup olive oil mayonnaise
- 2-3 cloves garlic
- 1 tablespoon honey
- 1 lemon juiced
- Kosher salt and ground black peppercorn to taste
- Grilled Sweet Corn Purple Kaleslaw:
- 2-3 cobs of sweet corn silk & husks removed
- 2 tablespoons olive oil plus 1/3 cup, separated
- 1 small head Japanese purple kale leaves ribs removed and finely chopped
- 1-2 small heads green radicchio finely chopped
- 1 handful parsley leaves chopped
- 1-2 shallots finely sliced
- 1/3 cup sherry vinegar
- 1/4 cup honey
- 1 tablespoon brown sugar
- 2 tablespoons lemon juice
- 2 tablespoons orange juice
- Salt and fresh ground peppercorn to taste
- Blackened Herb Mix:
- 2 tablespoons ground sweet paprika
- 2 tablespoons ancho chili powder
- 1 tablespoon onion powder
- 1 tablespoon garlic powder
- 1 tablespoon ground black peppercorn
- 1 tablespoon dried thyme
- 1 tablespoon dried oregano
- 1 tablespoon salt or to taste
- 1 teaspoon ground cayenne pepper or to taste
- 1 teaspoon ground cumin
- 1/2 teaspoon sugar
- Garlic-Honey Aioli: Whisk together all ingredients in a small bowl, until well-combined. Set aside. To thicken sauce, add 1 teaspoon mayonnaise. To thin sauce, add 1 teaspoon water.
- Grilled Sweet Corn Purple Kaleslaw: Preheat your gas to coal combo grill to hot. Brush corn in olive oil before laying over direct heat grill grates, then char upon all sides. Remove corn from the grill, slice kernels from the cob and set aside. Bring oil, vinegar, honey, sugar & juices to a boil, then set aside to cool and emulsify with an emersion blender. Toss together all prepared ingredients in a large bowl and season to taste.
- Blackened Herb Mix: In a food processor, pulse together all ingredients. Set aside.
Blackened Catfish Filet Sandwich with Garlic-Honey Aioli and Southern Purple Kaleslaw
- Roasted Sweet Corn Purple Kaleslaw recipe above
- Blackened Herb Mix recipe above
- Garlic-Honey Aioli recipe above
- 2 pounds fresh catfish filets trimmed
- Olive oil
- Heirloom tomatoes finely sliced
- Kosher salt and fresh ground peppercorn to taste
- 6-8 artisan sandwich rolls lightly buttered and toasted
- Up to 4 hours prior to grilling, rub the catfish filets with olive oil and Blackened Herb Mix, then wrap air-tight in plastic and refrigerate. 30 minutes prior to grilling remove the filets from the cooler and return to room temperature.
- Light the charcoal in a chimney and burn until white and ashy. Once charcoal is ready pour in the bottom of the grill. Top with a few handfuls of cedar wood chips. Place the grill grates back in place and rub the grates with olive oil. Confidently apply the catfish over the cleaned grill grates for 4-6 minutes per side, with the grill lid closed, careful to not flip the fish until it easily pulls from the grill grates (if the fish is sticking - sear the catfish with the grill lid open for an additional 1-2 minutes). Cook until the filet is well-encrusted upon the exterior and translucent in color throughout. Remove fish from the grill, toss in the prepared aioli, and season to taste. Load over toasted artisan rolls, garnish with heirloom tomatoes and Roasted Sweet Corn Kaleslaw.