Gluten-Free Sautéed Catfish with Peanuts and Fresh Herbs
This recipe is featured in Armchair Asia: Exploring the East from my Gluten-Free Kitchen
Reprinted with permission from The Gluten-Free Asian Kitchen: Recipes for Noodles, Dumplings, Sauces, and More. Copyright © 2011 by Laura B. Russell, Ten Speed Press.
Metric conversions added by The Cook’s Cook.
Since my early memories of catfish bring to mind cornmeal-crusted mud, I wanted to give this underrated fish another chance to win me over. I treated it to a very special Vietnamese-inspired preparation: a light sauté of rice flour-and-turmeric dusted catfish followed by a shower of fresh wilted herbs — delicious! The majority of catfish available today is farm raised, eliminating much of the murky flavor of its wild cousins. And while I’m generally not a huge fan of farmed fish, I actually prefer sustainably raised farmed catfish from the United States. Serve the fish over a bed of cooked rice vermicelli for a one-dish meal.
- Servings Serves 4
- .68 kg (1½ pounds) catfish fillets, about .6 cm (¼ inch) thick, skin removed, cut into 1½-inch pieces
- 80 grams (½ cup) rice flour
- 2 teaspoons salt
- 1½ teaspoons turmeric
- ½ teaspoon freshly ground black pepper
- 3 tablespoons vegetable oil, divided, plus more if needed
- 6 green onions, white and green parts, thinly sliced
- 36 grams (¼ cup) unsalted peanuts
- 50 grams (½ cup) chopped fresh dill
- 79 grams (1 packed cup) fresh cilantro leaves
- Cooked rice vermicelli, for serving (optional)
- Nuoc Cham, for serving
If the catfish feels wet or if it was previously frozen, pat it dry with paper towels or a clean kitchen towel.
Combine the rice flour, salt, turmeric, and pepper in a gallon-size resealable bag or on a wide, rimmed plate. Add half the fish and shake to coat with the seasoned flour. Heat 1 tablespoon of the oil in a large nonstick frying pan over medium-high heat. Remove the fish from the bag, shaking any excess flour back into the bag. Add the seasoned catfish to the pan and cook until golden and cooked through, 2 to 3 minutes per side for .6 cm (¼ inch) thick fillets.
Transfer the fish to a platter or large plate. Repeat with the remaining fish and 1 tablespoon more oil.
When all the fish is cooked, wipe the pan clean. Heat the remaining 1 tablespoon oil over medium heat. Add the green onions and peanuts and cook, stirring, until sizzling and fragrant, about 1 minute. Stir in the dill and cilantro and cook until wilted, about 1 minute. Pour the fresh herb mixture over the catfish.
Serve over rice vermicelli with Nuoc Cham on the side for drizzling.
I used farm-raised catfish fillets, but you could try another medium-firm textured fillet, such as striped bass or flounder. The catfish I use is fairly thin (about .6 cm/¼ inch thick); add a few minutes to the cooking time if you use thicker fillets.