This recipe is adapted from chef John Currence’s Pickles, Pigs & Whiskey.
Before you get working on this “pole to plate” offering, there’s two important preliminary steps to follow:
- Pour yourself a glass of bourbon, wine, or your drink of choice (this should be step one of any recipe—remember, cooking is fun)
- Put on your favorite music playlist. The mood has to be perfect. My playlist has it all—Hank Williams, Jr., Michael Bolton, Elton John, Adele, and more.
Once you’ve completed both those steps, you can get to the dish!
Porcini-dusted seared catfish
- 4 6-ounce catfish fillets (preferably from self-caught cats!)
- 2 to 3 teaspoons kosher salt
- 3 teaspoons fresh ground black pepper
- 4 tablespoons pure olive oil or canola oil
- 2 tablespoons butter
- 6 teaspoons porcini powder (found at specialty grocers or made by pulsing dried porcinis in a food processor)
- 1 tablespoon fresh herbs such as parsley or taragon
Heat a medium skillet over medium-high heat.
Drizzle the fish with tablespoon of the oil and sprinkle with salt, pepper, and porcini powder.
Add the remaining oil and butter to the pan. Add the fish fillets (should hear a sizzle). Deeply brown on the first side. This usually takes 3 to 5 minutes. Flip the fillets and tilt the pan so the butter and oil are on the side of the pan close to you. With a spoon, baste the top of the fillet with the butter-oil mixture. After a minute or so, the fish should be finished cooking.
Cayenne sweet-corn puree
- 2 tablespoons extra virgin olive oil
- 2 tablespoons minced shallot
- 2 tablespoons minced garlic
- 2 tablespoons roasted corn kernels (roast in oil over medium-high heat until fragrant)
- 1/2-teaspoon cayenne (be careful—add too much and your head will erupt like Mount St. Helens!)
- 2 tablespoons heavy cream
- 3 saffron threads—a little goes a long way (Optional. This is one of the most expensive spices out there known. It brings a nice smoky, yet sweet flavor. I have champagne taste with a beer budget!)
- 2 teaspoon kosher salt
- 2 teaspoon fresh black pepper
- 3 tablespoons cream cheese
- 1 tablespoon butter
Heat a medium sauté pan or stock pot over medium heat. Add the oil and sweat the garlic and shallot until transparent. This takes roughly 2 minutes. Add the corn kernels, cayenne, and cream, and bring to a simmer. Add the saffron, cream cheese, salt, and pepper. Using an immersion blender, blend the mixture until nearly creamy (if you do not have an immersion blender, a stand blender will work). I like a little texture to mine. I want the guests to know what they are eating. Finish with the tablespoon of butter. Taste and adjust.
Spoon the puree onto serving plates or a shallow bowl and top with a fish fillet some fresh herbs. Hunt, cook, share, enjoy, and, as always, keep Cookin’ in Camo!
Editor’s note: This recipe is the second in a series of several provided by Tyler Viars, a dedicated “forest to fork” hunter (or “pole to plate” angler, in this case) and professional chef. Click here to read last week’s recipe, bacon-wrapped venison backstrap with chimichurri.
Images courtesy Tina Marie Photography