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Kitchen Miracle #493

I turned leftover fried catfish into Thai green curry. Around my house, fried fish needs to be completely transformed in order to be used up--reheated fish fillets are the worst. I had two largish pieces of flour/egg/cornmeal-breaded catfish "nuggets" that were a Dillons Manager's Special (quick, eat it before it becomes a new life form!) leftover from the previous night's dinner. I generally don't like repeating entrees, for the sake of variety, but I didn't feel comfortable saving the fish for another few days, so I hopped on my spacephone and looked through Thai fish recipes to find something spicy (to me, catfish tastes strongly of a riverbank, no matter how fresh).

I found a recipe for Thai catfish curry. It called for keffir lime, carrot, and Thai basil. I had regular basil in the yard, some carrot sticks from earlier in the week, but we had no limes or lime juice. Then I remembered some Indian Hot Lime relish slowly dying in the condiment section of the fridge; due to its overwhelming flavor, it's best diluted in stews. I got the rice cooker going and went outside to pick some basil. I sauteed the basil leaves, a crushed clove of garlic, and a julienned carrot stick in enough oil to cover the bottom of a saucepan. Then I cut the leftover catfish into tiny bite-size pieces, breading and all, and added them to the oil and veggies. The original recipe called for Thai red curry sauce, and I thought we had some, but NOPE. So I looked through the fridge for any kind of sauce, and saw some leftover Pad Thai sauce. I didn't want that, but this got me thinking, and I grabbed the jar of Salsa Verde. We'd make Thai Green Curry! Once the catfish and veggies were sufficiently crispy, I poured a dollop of salsa verde into the pan and kept stirring.

The original recipe called for fish sauce and cilantro. We always have fish sauce in the fridge, so I gave it a few squirts in the pan and I broke off some of my cilantro oil (chop a cilantro bunch, put in a baggie with just enough oil to saturate, roll all the air out into a tube shape and freeze) I keep in the freezer and added that. Kept stirring, and added a 1/2 cup of water to the mixture. I added a small dollop of Hot Lime relish for lime flavor, and after about five minutes I tasted the results. Just about perfect. I added another small dollop of salsa verde and another 1/2 cup of water to make it go around for four people, and let it simmer on the stove. Nick got home, tried it, and gave me a thumbs-up. I served it over brown rice (with sriracha for extra sinus-clearing flavor) and it fed Nick, myself, Thing 2, and a single serving was leftover for someone's lunch, which either Nick or myself will eat tonight. Nick pointed out that I could have also made a chowder, but the catfish taste was a little too riverbanky for that. I think ocean fish are better for chowders. River fish need spice or beer.

So, anyway, thought I'd put this up for anyone who hates or can't afford to throw food away, but hates leftover fish even more.

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( 1 comment — Leave a comment )
Sep. 5th, 2014 05:57 pm (UTC)
That sounds delicious.
( 1 comment — Leave a comment )