Wild Chef: How to Make Catfish Sausage
Grind and cook your catch with a side of creamy grits and roasted tomatoes
Chef Robert Phalen, at Atlanta’s acclaimed One Eared Stag restaurant, makes this citrusy, herbal, head-turning “sausage” with catfish, but it’s a fresh and terrific vehicle for other freshwater gamefish like bass or walleye. Don’t let the sausage-making component scare you off; after a simple pass through the grinder, this dish couldn’t be easier.
You Will Need
- 2 lb. catfish, bass, or walleye fillets, roughly chopped
- 3 bay leaves
- 2 cups grits (not instant)
- 1⁄3 cup white wine
- 11⁄2 cups parsley, roughly chopped
- Zest of 3 lemons
- Zest of 1 lime
- 11⁄2 Tbsp. fennel seeds
- 1 tsp. whole coriander seeds
- 11⁄2 tsp. onion powder
- 11⁄2 tsp. garlic powder
- 1 tsp. crushed red pepper flakes
- 10 oz. cherry tomatoes
- About 1⁄2 cup olive oil, divided
- 4 Tbsp. butter
- 4 scallions, chopped
- Salt and black pepper, to taste
- Place the components for your meat grinder in the freezer to chill.
- Make the grits: Bring 8 cups of salted water to a boil in a medium saucepan. Add the bay leaves, then slowly whisk in the grits. Reduce the heat to low, cover, and simmer very gently for 30 minutes to an hour, until the grits are very tender.
- Meanwhile, add the wine, parsley, lemon and lime zest, fennel and coriander seeds, onion and garlic powder, and red pepper flakes to a blender or food processor and purée until smooth. Combine this purée with the fish fillets, and salt and pepper generously.
- Using the coarse setting on your grinder, grind the fish mixture into a clean, cold bowl. Keep refrigerated until ready to cook.
- As the grits are cooking, place the tomatoes on a sheet pan and drizzle with about 2 Tbsp. olive oil. Season with salt and pepper. Place under a broiler for about 8 minutes, or until the tomatoes are soft and blackened in spots. Keep warm.
- In a nonstick sauté pan, heat about 2 Tbsp. olive oil over medium-high heat. Make patties with the sausage (or sauté loosely, as you would ground beef) and cook, flipping once, for about 8 to 10 minutes, or until cooked through.
- Add the butter to the grits and stir to combine. Salt and pepper to taste.
- Ladle the grits into shallow bowls and top with the sausage and blistered tomatoes. Garnish with the chopped scallions and serve.