Fresh catfish fillets are stuffed with crab, Monterey Jack cheese and just enough cayenne pepper to give it some spicy interest.
4fillets6 ounces each fresh catfish
6ouncescrabmeat – fresh is best. Use frozenthawed and drained or canned, rinsed and drained
4tablespoonsMonterey Jack cheeseshredded
3tablespoonsdried bread crumbsplain or seasoned
1tablespoonmayonnaiseregular or reduced calorie
¼teaspoongranulated garlic or garlic powder
¼teaspoonground black pepper
Preheat the oven to 375F. Coat a baking dish with cooking spray or a little olive oil.
Butterfly each fillet: Using the tip of a sharp knife, make a shallow slit down the center of each fillet lengthwise, from top to bottom. Insert the tip of the knife under the flesh of the fillet, first on the left side, and slide it down the length of the fillet to make a pocket. If you start with your knife about an inch from the top of the opening cut, and stop about an inch before the cut ends at the bottom of the fillet, you should have enough of a pocket to put the stuffing in. Reverse the fillet on your cutting board and repeat the pocket procedure on the other side. Your fillet is now ready for stuffing.
Make the stuffing:
In a small bowl, combine the drained crabmeat with the bread crumbs, mayonnaise, garlic, onion, celery salt, cayenne, kosher salt and black pepper. Mix gently but thoroughly.
Stuff each fillet with the crab mixture. Gently press the stuffing into each side of the butterflied fillet. Sprinkle the shredded Monterey Jack on the top of each fillet and place them in the prepared baking dish.
Bake the catfish in the hot oven for about 25 to 30 minutes or until the fish flakes easily with a fork. The cooking time will depend somewhat on the thickness of the fillets – if the fish needs more cooking time, cover the pan with foil and bake a little longer.