Kitchen Diaries: Blackened Spiced Catfish and Poblano-Cheddar Grits

January 4, 2016

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I’ve always wanted to try out Blue Apron, the company that sends fresh ingredients for meals that you prepare at home, but was reluctant due to the price and uncertainty about whether I’d enjoy the meals. Thankfully, my friend Becky got me a free one-week trial, which included three meals with portions for two. The first recipe I tried was the Spiced Catfish and Poblano-Cheddar Grits, and I must have to admit, it was simply delicious — a restaurant-quality meal prepared by yours truly. To start, here’s the skinny on what was inside this feast.

Ingredients (2 servings):
2 Catfish Fillets
1 cup Yellow Grits
½ bunch Collard Greens
1 Poblano Pepper
1½ ounces Cheddar Cheese
1 tablespoon Butter
2 tablespoons Spiced Catfish Spice Blend (Rice Flour, Ancho Chile Powder, Ground Cumin and Smoked Paprika)

Read more about my latest Kitchen Diaries after the jump!

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Wash and dry the fresh produce. Remove and discard the collard green stems; roughly chop the leaves. Grate the cheese (I just diced it into cubes for time’s sake). Cut out and discard the stem, ribs and seeds of the poblano pepper; small dice. Immediately wash your hands, knife and cutting board after handling the poblano pepper.

In a medium nonstick pan, heat 2 teaspoons of olive oil on medium-high until hot. Add the poblano pepper; season with salt and pepper. Cook, stirring occasionally, 3 to 5 minutes, or until softened. Transfer to a bowl. Wipe out the pan.

In the pan used to cook the poblano pepper, heat 2 teaspoons of olive oil on medium until hot. Add the collard greens and ¼ cup of water; season with salt and pepper. Cook, stirring occasionally, 6 to 8 minutes, or until the collard greens have wilted and the water has evaporated; season with salt and pepper to taste. Transfer to a bowl and set aside in a warm place. Rinse and wipe out the pan.

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While the collard greens stew, in a large pot, heat 4 cups of water and a big pinch of salt to boiling on high. Once boiling, slowly whisk in the grits; reduce the heat to low. Simmer, whisking occasionally, 10 to 12 minutes, or until thickened. (If the grits seem dry, gradually add up to ¼ cup of water to achieve your desired consistency.) Remove from heat. Whisk in the butter, cheese and cooked poblano pepper until thoroughly combined. Season with salt and pepper to taste. Set aside in a warm place.

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While the grits cook, place the spice blend on a plate. Pat the catfish fillets dry with paper towels; season with salt and pepper on both sides. Coat 1 side of each seasoned fillet in the spice blend (tapping off any excess).

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Yo! This meal was sa-mackin! So many flavors. My favorite part of the dish was definitely the grits. At first I thought there wasn’t enough cheese to flavor the grits, but it was just enough. And the poblano pepper made my tastebuds dance. I could see myself making a big pot of these grits and going to town. Perfect rainy-day comfort food. El Niño, what’s good?!

Lessons learned: Preparation is definitely key with these Blue Apron meals. It would be ideal to slice the vegetables in advance. While the recipe cooks in 20 to 30 minutes, it took me close to an hour because I had to slice some of the ingredients, and I’m a slow cutter. Also, next time I’d keep a closer eye on the fish as it cooks. I left it on a little too long, which made it a little Cajun. Haha. That’s why you’ll see that I added the word “Blackened” to the recipe title. It wasn’t burnt and still was remarkably tasty — just not the ideal golden-brown sear.

Get more recipes and read through my previous Kitchen Diaries here.

ashley ♥ adores

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