North African Spice Blackened Catfish

Update a classic Southern catfish dish with North African spices and harissa-spiked mayonnaise.
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  • Level: Easy
  • Total: 25 min
  • Active: 10 min
  • Yield: 4
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1 tablespoon plus 1 teaspoon ground coriander

2 teaspoons ground cumin

1 teaspoon Chinese five-spice powder

1/2 teaspoon cayenne

Kosher salt and finely ground black pepper

Four 10- to- 12-ounce skinless catfish fillets

1/2 cup mayonnaise

2 teaspoons harissa

1 teaspoon grated lemon zest plus 1 1/2 teaspoons fresh lemon juice

2 tablespoons olive oil

Cilantro leaves and lemon wedges, for serving


  1. Stir the coriander, cumin, five-spice, cayenne, 2 teaspoons salt and a few grinds of pepper together in a small bowl. Rub the spice blend all over the catfish.
  2. Whisk the mayonnaise, harissa, lemon zest, lemon juice, 1/4 teaspoon salt and a few grinds of pepper together in another small bowl.
  3. Heat 2 tablespoons of oil in a large and heavy skillet over medium-high heat. Once hot, add half the catfish and cook, flipping once, until well browned and cooked through, 4 to 5 minutes per side. Repeat with the remaining oil and catfish.
  4. Spread the harissa mayo on 4 plates and place the catfish on top. Serve with cilantro and lemon wedges.