Southern Fried Catfish Salad with Orange Sweet Potato-Bourbon Dressing

Total Time:
2 hr
30 min
1 hr 30 min

4 servings

  • Sweet Potato-Bourbon Dressing:
  • 1 large sweet potato, about 3/4 pound, rinsed and patted dry
  • 1/2 cup orange juice
  • 2 tablespoons cane syrup
  • 1/4 to 1/2 cup apple cider vinegar
  • 1/4 cup Kentucky bourbon
  • 1 tablespoons chopped shallots
  • 1/2 teaspoon fresh cracked black pepper
  • 1/8 teaspoon allspice
  • 1 teaspoon salt
  • 1/2 cup soybean oil
  • 4 (6-ounce) catfish
  • 1 cup rice flour
  • Essence, recipe follows
  • 1 large Vidalia onion, sliced thinly into half moons
  • 1 1/2 cups thinly sliced Smithfied ham, Sauteed
  • 2 peaches, pitted and diced
  • 6 cups mixed greens
  • Sugared Nuts, recipe follows
  • Essence (Emeril's Creole Seasoning):
  • 2 1/2 tablespoons paprika
  • 2 tablespoons salt
  • 2 tablespoons garlic powder
  • 1 tablespoon black pepper
  • 1 tablespoon onion powder
  • 1 tablespoon cayenne pepper
  • 1 tablespoon dried leaf oregano
  • 1 tablespoon dried thyme
  • Sugared Nuts:
  • 1/4 cup unsalted shelled peanuts
  • 1/4 cup unsalted, shelled, chopped black walnuts
  • 1/4 cup unsalted chopped pecans
  • 5 tablespoons brown sugar
  • 3/4 teaspoon salt
  • Pinch cayenne
  • 1 tablespoon chili oil
Sweet Potato-Bourbon Dressing:
  • To make the dressing: Preheat the oven to 400 degrees F.

  • Place the sweet potato on a baking sheet and bake for 30 minutes. Reduce the heat to 375 degrees F and bake until tender and the syrupy sugars start to break through the skin, about 45 minutes. Remove from the oven and let sit until cool enough to handle. Cut a slit down the potato and remove the peel.

  • In a blender, combine the sweet potato, orange juice, cane syrup, vinegar, bourbon, shallots, pepper, allspice and salt. Puree for 30 seconds. Pulsing, gradually add the oil through the feeder tube.

  • Preheat the fryer to 360 degrees F.

  • Season the catfish fillets with Essence. Dredge the catfish in rice flour, shaking off any excess. Add to the oil and fry for about 1 to 2 minutes per side. Remove to paper towels. In a large bowl combine, onions, ham, peaches, and mixed greens. Add some of the dressing and toss well. Place a mound of the greens on a plate. Top with the catfish fillets and sprinkle with sugared nuts.

Essence (Emeril's Creole Seasoning):
  • Combine all ingredients thoroughly and store in an airtight jar or container.

  • Yield: about 2/3 cup

  • Recipe from "New New Orleans Cooking", by Emeril Lagasse and Jessie Tirsch. Published by William and Morrow, 1993.

Sugared Nuts:
  • In a medium skillet, cook the nuts, brown sugar, salt, cayenne and the oil over medium-high heat. Cook until the sugar caramelizes and coats the nuts, about 5 minutes, stirring occasionally to separate the nuts. Transfer to a baking sheet covered with waxed paper to cool. (Note: Caramelized nuts will keep in a tightly sealed container at room temperature for several days.)

  • Yield: 3/4 cup

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