Beazell's Cook Book

Catfish Cordon Bleu by Ricky Prado

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2 catfish fillets, fairly thick
sugar, Kosher salt, lemons and oranges for a brine
2-3 oz grated smoked cheese or strong cheddar
(or both!), any variety
3-4 oz chopped smoked honey ham, Albertson's has a great one!
1 Habanero, minced (optional, but not for me!)
corn meal and egg for dipping and coating catfish
black pepper and garlic powder for the corn meal
tons and tons of Beazell's seasoning for the eggs

OK, make a brine with your squeezed lemons and oranges and add sugar (1/4 cup?) and a 1/4 cup Kosher salt - whisk until dissolved and add fish and lots of ice. Let them sit for 1/2 hour in the ice box. Now start your oven at about 350 degrees. In the meantime, grate your cheese and add the finely minced habanero's to the cheese mix. Mince your ham and place in a separate bowl. Crack a couple of eggs into a long plate, whisk and overload with Beazell's Seasoning (I used 1+ Tblsp!). In your corn meal, crack black pepper and some garlic powder to your taste. Now, here's the Cordon Blue part: take your catfish out of the brine and pat dry; slice the fillets long ways with your best Chef's Knife and layer your ham and cheese mixtures in the cut you've just made. Fold over the top and then bathe in the egg mixture, then dust liberally with your corn meal. On a medium-high stove top, put 1 Tblsp of vegetable oil in a skillet you can place in the oven (no plastic handles) and get to a med-high temp. Place the Catfish fillets in the pan and cook on each side 2-3 minutes (we're just trying to get color). Finish in your oven 15+ minutes until you get the texture you want from your fish. I actually dreamed about this recipe and modified it, I think it has a wonderful taste and I've always loved taking classic recipes and modifying them to suit the local ingredients, because that's what Cajun and Creole cooking is all about (the FIRST fusion cooking! :-) Now, if you want, I'll tell you about the green beans (they were great!!!! :-)

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