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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