Last week, as I was thumbing through the grocery ads, I came across a deal I couldn’t pass up – 4/$1 cantaloupe at my local Sprouts. When I made my visit, I picked up 4 cantaloupe. I came out of the store with a smile on my face. I love cantaloupe.
But what was I going to do with 4 cantaloupe? I couldn’t eat them all for breakfast…
Enter cantaloupe salsa. In a twist of fate, Deb at Smitten Kitchen was on a cantaloupe kick. And in a stroke of genius, she created this cantaloupe salsa, a tantalizing blend of cool, sweet and spicy. I was in heaven. I immediately knew I would be making this to top some fish.
And if you have lived in Texas (or just about anywhere in the South) for any length of time, you know catfish is everywhere. Most of it is coated in cornmeal and fried, of course (not that there is anything wrong with that - I love a perfectly fried catfish!), but a spicy blackened catfish is also quite common. Blackening seasoning, a Cajun seasoning, is a mixture of spices that are typically generously sprinkled over fish or chicken and then sautéed in a pan at a relatively high heat. It’s a quick, easy, and healthy way to prepare seafood, and it sounded like the perfect companion for the cantaloupe salsa.
This turned out to be quite a success! The heat in the cayenne melded perfectly with the zippy jalapenos and sweet melon. I served this with a bit of steamed rice. With the 100-degree temperatures predicted this week, this was the perfect dish to keep dinner light, yet flavorful.
One cantaloupe down, 3 to go.
Cantaloupe Salsa, adapted from Smitten Kitchen:
1 medium cantaloupe, seeded and diced
1/4 c sweet yellow onion, diced
juice of 2 limes
2-3 serrano or jalapeno chiles, seeded and diced
2 T sweet red bell pepper, diced
1 t basil, minced
2 T cilantro, minced
salt to taste
Mix together ingredients and serve immediately, or refrigerate for several hours to allow flavors to meld.
Blackened Catfish, adapted from Gourmet magazine
2 t sweet paprika
1/2 t garlic powder
1/2 t dried oregano, crumbled
1/4 t cayenne
1/2 t sugar
1/2 t salt
1/4 t ground black pepper
4 catfish fillets
1 T olive oil
1 T unsalted butter or olive oil
In a small bowl combine the paprika, garlic, oregano, cayenne, sugar, salt, and pepper. Pat the catfish dry thoroughly with paper towels. Sprinkle the catfish with the spices on both sides, coating them well. In a large cast iron skillet, heat oil to moderately high heat. Add butter and heat until foam subsides. Add catfish and saute for 3-4 minutes per side, or until fish is cooked through.
Place catfish fillets on plates, and spoon 1/4 – 1/2 cup of salsa over. Serve with hot steamed rice, if desired.