Catfish is an underused fish with a bad reputation for having little taste and little texture. But I like the way its unassuming taste and texture contrast with the spices in this dish.
FOR THE SPICE RUB
1 tablespoon dried Greek oregano
2 teaspoons cayenne pepper
1 heaping tablespoon garlic powder
2 teaspoons dried thyme
2 teaspoons Hungarian paprika
1½ teaspoons kosher salt
1 teaspoon black pepper
6 6- to 8-ounce catfish fillets (about 2½ to 3 pounds)
1 tablespoon olive oil
1½ lemons or limes, cut into 6 slices, for garnish
1. To make the rub: Place the oregano cayenne pepper, garlic powder, thyme, paprika, salt, and pepper in a small mixing bowl and combine well.
2. Place the catfish on a large plate and rub both sides with the spice mixture. Cover and refrigerate at least 1 hour and up to overnight.
3. Prepare the grill or place a large skillet over high heat. If you are grilling, lightly rub each side with olive oil and place the fish, skin side down, on the grill and cook for about 4 to 5 minutes on each side.
4. If you are pan-frying, place a large skillet over high heat and when it is hot, add the oil. Add the fish, skin side down, one at a time, allowing the pan to reheat for about 30 seconds between additions. Cook until deeply browned and cooked throughout, about 4 to 5 minutes on each side. Transfer to a large platter and serve immediately. Garnish with the lemon.
From The $50 Dinner Party: 26 Dinner Parties That Won’t Break Your Bank, Your Back, or Your Schedule (Simon & Schuster, 1998)