Jerk Catfish

The Jamaican spice treatment called jerk isn't just for meat and chicken; it's great on fish, too. Rub the spice paste on catfish fillets and broil for a crisp, spicy coating. Though the sesame seeds aren't traditional, they add a pleasant crunch and rich flavor.

Yield: 4
Recipe from Food & Wine

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Ingredients

  • 1/3 cup chopped onion
  • 1 clove garlic, smashed
  • 1 tablespoon sesame seeds
  • 2 teaspoons brown sugar
  • 1 1/2 teaspoons ground allspice
  • 1 1/2 teaspoons dried thyme
  • 1/2 teaspoon grated nutmeg
  • 1 1/4 teaspoons salt
  • 1/4 teaspoon fresh-ground black pepper
  • 1/4 teaspoon cayenne
  • 2 1/2 tablespoons cooking oil
  • 1/2 teaspoon vinegar
  • 2 pounds catfish fillets

Preparation

  1. 1. In a blender, puree the onion, garlic, and sesame seeds with the brown sugar, allspice, thyme, nutmeg, 1 teaspoon of the salt, the black pepper, cayenne, oil, and vinegar. Heat the broiler. Lightly oil a broiler pan or baking sheet.
  2. 2. Sprinkle both sides of the catfish fillets with the remaining 1/4 teaspoon salt and put them on the prepared baking sheet, skinned-side down. Spread the spice mixture over the fish in an even layer.
  3. 3. Broil the fish, about 6 inches from the heat if possible, until well-browned and just done, about 5 minutes for 3/4-inch-thick fillets.
  4. Fish Alternatives: Though catfish is lean and firm, those qualities aren't imperative here. You can use fillets of a different nature, such as bluefish, red snapper, or wolffish.
  5. Wine Recommendation: Make your beverage choice as simple and casual as this dish--and look for something that can take the heat. Try either a white zinfandel, a rosé, or your favorite beer.
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