We’re in the middle of a typical hot, humid Virginia summer at the moment, so instead of making blackened catfish on the stovetop, tonight I grilled it outside.
We have a gas grill, so I turned it on when I began mixing the spices together. If you’re using a charcoal grill, get it going earlier so that it’s hot enough by the time you’re ready to put the fillets on the grill.
Now, begin by making a blackening spice rub: 1 1/2 teaspoons of paprika (I used 1 teaspoon of regular sweet paprika and 1/2 teaspoon of smoked paprika); 1/2 teaspoon cayenne pepper (much more than that is too hot!); 1 teaspoon of coarsely grated salt; 1 teaspoon of dried thyme leaves; 1/2 teaspoon of coarsely ground black pepper.
Stir all the spices together until well-blended.
Rub two large fresh catfish fillets (about 1 to 1 1/4 pounds, altogether) with olive oil, then rub the spice mixture into them.
You can either put the fillets directly on the grill itself or, as I did, put them into fish grilling baskets. Catfish is a very firm white fish, so it works well on the grill, plus cooking it this way will give you those lovely grill marks on the fish. However, I prefer to use fish baskets because they’re easier to turn and maneuver. I sprayed each basket with a non-stick cooking spray to make sure the fish wouldn’t stick, then put the fillets inside.
And now you’re ready to grill! I cooked these for about 5 minutes per side. (You’ll want to adjust accordingly, depending on how thick and big the fillets are.)
We served this tonight with baby potatoes that had been pan-seared with Old Bay Seasoning and with Indian-style spinach (that is, pan-sautéed with garam masala seasoning).
Our wine was a Bordeaux-style blend, Glen Manor’s 2013 Vin Rouge. It was a perfect match for the fish, with just enough heft to balance out the seasoned tasted of the fillets. (See my Facebook wine page for more on the wine!)