It’s Memorial Day. I’m home from camp (details to come soon!); I’m resting easy. I’m soaking up the holiday and the (hopefully) sunshine.
And oh, hey! Summer is here. ‘Tis the season for hot dogs, for steaks and burgers on the grill and for cornmeal-crusted catfish sandwiches — preferably outdoors, with a beer on the side. And because it’s the season for all things meat on the grill/on a bun/outdoors with a beer, Elliott and I pay particular attention to our food choices.
As you may know, that’s something we’ve been doing for quite a while — that is to say, choosing to eat most meat/animal products from reputable, sustainable and ethical (and preferably local) sources — and the buck doesn’t stop at seafood. So when the lovely Jessie of Life as a Strawberry invited some bloggers to talk about sustainable seafood and what it means to them for the Sustainable Seafood Blog Project, I was more than happy to be a part of it. Plus, it gave me a good excuse to make a catfish sandwich.
This infographic gives you a really good idea of what the world’s consumption of seafood has done to our resources, so I won’t get into the nitty-gritty. Instead, I’ll just tell you that, for Elliott and me, being careful about what type of seafood we purchase or consume is one way we feel we can be responsible for our environment and be good stewards of this beautiful Earth we were given. Putting that bit of extra effort toward our food is worth it to us, not just for the environment but for our health, too.
I like to think these catfish sandwiches embody everything about the way we choose to consume. They’re healthy — as in, baked instead of fried. They’re sustainable and accessible — according to the Monterey Bay Aquarium’s Seafood Watch, which is our go-to resource for determining what seafood is OK to purchase and what isn’t, US-farmed catfish is given a “best choice” rating… and I found it at the deli counter of our local Byerly’s. Oh, and they’re DELICIOUS — meaning we don’t have to sacrifice flavor when being choosy about our seafood. The cornmeal is flavored with Old Bay seasoning, cumin and a little cayenne pepper for kick, and there’s also a homemade lemon-caper sauce slathered on each bun. WHAT. Magic in the mouth, I tell you.
To be honest, I don’t love to preach to people about why we eat the way we do, so we do our best to share about it when we’re asked or if the opportunity to talk about it seems appropriate. So I’m not going to sit here and tell you that you’re a terrible person if you don’t choose to purchase or consume solely sustainable seafood. That said, if you are interested in learning more, Jessie has set up a fantastic website that gives you all the info you need: The Sustainable Seafood Blog Project. And maybe, if you like, you can take this post and this recipe as one opportunity to think about where your seafood comes from the next time you shop.
At the very least, let’s all have a beer and enjoy the sunshine because oh hey, it’s finally summer. Happy Memorial Day, y’all!
P.S. Check out these blogs this week for more yummy sustainable seafood recipes:
Cornmeal-Crusted Catfish Sandwiches with Lemon-Caper Dill Sauce
A Girl Versus Dough original (inspired by Simply Scratch)
Yields: 4 servings
For the catfish —
1 cup yellow cornmeal
1 teaspoon Old Bay seasoning
1 teaspoon cumin
1/2 teaspoon salt
1/8 teaspoon pepper
Pinch cayenne pepper (optional)
1/2 cup milk
1 lb US farm-raised catfish fillets, cut into sandwich-size portions
For the lemon-caper dill sauce —
2 tablespoons mayonnaise
1 tablespoon snipped fresh dill
1 teaspoon lemon juice
1 teaspoon Dijon mustard
1 teaspoon capers
1 teaspoon minced bread and butter pickles
1/2 teaspoon minced garlic
Salt and pepper, to taste
For the sandwiches —
4 sandwich buns
Red leaf lettuce
Lemon wedges, for serving (optional)
Heat oven to 425 degrees F. Line a baking sheet with foil and spray with cooking spray.
Whisk cornmeal, Old Bay seasoning, cumin, salt, pepper and cayenne pepper in a shallow bowl. Pour milk into a separate shallow bowl. Dip catfish fillets, one at a time, into milk and then into cornmeal mixture, turning to coat. Transfer to prepared baking sheet. Spray tops lightly with cooking spray.
Bake catfish, flipping halfway through, until golden brown on the outside and flaky on the inside, about 15 to 20 minutes. Let sit at room temperature for 2 minutes before assembling sandwiches.
Combine all ingredients for the lemon-caper dill sauce in a small bowl; spread on one half of each sandwich bun. Top with a catfish fillet, lettuce and tomato. Serve with lemon wedges, if desired.