I hosted the BNP Paribas Taste of Tennis event with Serena Williams and chose these lightly fried catfish tacos for the occasion, topped with a fresh heirloom tomato, mango and avocado salsa. By dredging the catfish in seasoned flour first, it brings out the flavor without adding too much salt.
Four 4 oz. fresh catfish filets, cut into strips
2 oz. catfish spice (recipe follows)
3 cups chopped (1/4-inch dice) Heirloom tomatoes (use what you can find, but think about a variety of colors and flavors, from Black Prince to Green Zebra to Sun Gold to Brandywine (you'll need about 1 1/2 pounds))
2 avocados, halved, seeded, skin removed and diced ¼-inch
1 mango, peeled and diced ¼-inch
1 small red onion , finely chopped
1 jalapeño , seeds removed, fine diced
2-4 tbsp. chopped fresh herbs
4 fresh limes (2 for seasoning the salsa, remaining 2 for garnish (cut in eighths))
fresh corn tortillas (preferably Chinantla Tortilleria in Brooklyn)
1cup Wondra flour
1cup tomato powder
¼ cup Baleine salt
Make the salsa:
1. Mix the chopped tomatoes in a bowl. Rinse the chopped onion in a small strainer under cold water and shake off the excess water. Add to the tomatoes and add in mango and jalapeños. Stir in the herbs. Fold in the avocado to preserve the texture. Taste and season with additional salt, usually about 1/2 teaspoon and freshly squeezed lime juice
Fry the fish:
1. Heat oil in a cast iron skillet.
2. Set up a flouring station with the seasoning and flour in one dish and the fish in another. In a pan lay all the catfish strips out and season with salt, then dredge the strips with the seasoned flour mixture to coat.
3. Once oil is hot, place fish strips in cast iron pan 2-3 at a time and fry till golden brown, about 2 min. Using a strainer, remove the catfish from the oil and place on a paper towel lined plate and season with a little salt.
4. To serve, warm the tortillas and place some of the cooked catfish and top with salsa. Serve immediately with a lime wedge.