Maker’s Mark Catfish

12 Sep

I spent my Saturday painting my downstairs neighbor’s place to make a bit of extra money because, apparently, I have nothing better to do on my day off (which, incidentally, was probably the last nice weather day we’ll have until June. OH THE NORTHWEST!). It turns out that painting ceilings with a hand roller and a stepladder really does hell to your neck. After three hours the muscles in my neck were struck into state of fear-based paralysis, with every turn of my head threatening to send my whole body into a mess of complaints. So as I lay panting on my couch, carefully holding a food magazine parallel to my face so as not to aggravate my already useless muscles, C comes in with a bag of goodies to cheer me up. I guess since I made him like, ONE GOOD MEAL (read: pork chops) he now “owes me,” and bought something fun at the co-op: catfish! Catfish! Catfish!

This picture kind of blows since we ate at 8 o’clock and my indoor/incandescent/night time/food photography could use some work. But trust me, this meal was killer. I offered to help but, as I usually do, ended up leaning on the counter recounting stories about  nonsense and fiddling with the pile of produce that C was dutifully processing. He made a spicy rub for the catfish out of salt and pepper, chipotle, basil, oregano, paprika, and a hint of cinnamon. With some veggie oil he fried them up in the cast iron while the parsley-lemon rice simmered and the zucchini sautéed with a pile of quickly burning garlic. Surprisingly, the burny-ness  of the garlic worked well with the dish, a hint of bitter but not overtly so, softened with the mellow taste of the garlic that was sautéed to perfection. DELICIOUS. When the catfish was nearly done, he deglazed the pan with Maker’s Mark whiskey (a present from me to the both of us, a reward to myself for a fat paycheck and a raise at work) and made a sauce for the catfish: shallots, tomato, parsley, and (of course) heavy cream. Heavy cream, you are truly a gift of the universe! C knows my weakness for cream and wine and cooks accordingly.

Now the weather is surely turning for the worst, and autumn looms ominously… we’ve had days of downpour and wet asphalt, the wool sweaters have escaped my winter trunk, and I’m craving the foods I’ve missed for the past few months (but what a short few months of summer they’ve been!)… bring on the meat and potatoes, casseroles, stews, and roasts. I’m ready! I’ve got a new spatula and a knife sharpener! I’ve got a man who relishes food as much as I do and nothing to do! Tonight, pastitsio!

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