Crispy Catfish & Cracked Freekeh with Kumquat, Thai Basil & Chile Glaze

Crispy Catfish & Cracked Freekeh

with Kumquat, Thai Basil & Chile Glaze

20 MIN
2 Servings
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From the Test Kitchen

In America, catfish are most closely associated with the cuisine of the South, but they’re actually found the world over. In this dish, we’re taking cues from Southeast Asian cooking and coating the fish in an incredible, complex (but easy-to-make) glaze. You’ll combine sweet, tart kumquats (which are native to the Asia-Pacific regions) with aromatic Thai basil and bird’s eye chile, a variety prized for its heat and fruity notes. Stewed with sugar and a little vinegar, these ingredients create a flavorful, concentrated topping for catfish.

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  • Nutrition
    PER SERVING
  • Calories
    500 Cals (est.)
fresh
ingredients
Crispy Catfish & Cracked Freekeh with Kumquat, Thai Basil & Chile Glaze
Title
time-saving
tips & techniques
Cook the freekeh:
1 Cook the freekeh:

Heat a medium pot of salted water to boiling on high. Once boiling, add the freekeh and cook 20 to 22 minutes, or until tender. Turn off the heat. Drain thoroughly and return to the pot.

Prepare the ingredients:
2 Prepare the ingredients:

While the freekeh cooks, wash and dry the fresh produce. Peel and thinly slice the garlic. Slice the kumquats into thin rounds. Remove and discard the collard green stems; roughly chop the leaves. Pick the basil off the stems; discard the stems. Remove the stem of the bird’s eye chile. (For a spicier dish, halve the chile lengthwise to expose the seeds.) Immediately wash your hands and cutting board after handling the chile.

Cook the collard greens:
3 Cook the collard greens:

While the freekeh continues to cook, in a medium pan, heat 2 teaspoons of oil on medium-high until hot. Add the garlic; cook, stirring frequently, 1 to 2 minutes, or until fragrant. Add the collard greens and 2 tablespoons of water; season with salt and pepper. Cook, stirring occasionally, 2 to 3 minutes, or until wilted. Transfer to the pot of cooked freekeh. Wipe out the pan.

Cook the catfish:
4 Cook the catfish:

While the freekeh continues to cook, pat the catfish fillets dry with paper towels; season with salt and pepper on both sides. Place the flour onto a large plate. Coat one side of each seasoned fillet in the flour, shaking off any excess. In the same pan used to cook the collard greens, heat a thin layer of oil on medium-high until hot. Add the fillets, coated side down first. Cook 2 to 3 minutes per side, or until golden brown and cooked through. Transfer to a paper towel-lined plate and set aside in a warm place. Carefully drain off and discard the oil, leaving any browned bits (or fond) in the pan.

Make the glaze:
5 Make the glaze:

While the freekeh continues to cook, heat the pan of reserved fond on medium until hot. Add ¼ cup of water; stir in the kumquats, bird’s eye chile, sugar, vinegar and half the basil. Cook, stirring occasionally, 3 to 5 minutes, or until thickened. Turn off the heat; remove and discard the chile. Season with salt and pepper to taste.

Dress the freekeh & plate your dish:
6 Dress the freekeh & plate your dish:

Add a drizzle of olive oil into the pot of cooked collard greens and freekeh; stir to combine and season with salt and pepper to taste. Divide the finished freekeh and cooked catfish between 2 plates. Top each fillet with a few spoonfuls of the glaze. Garnish with the remaining basil. Enjoy!

Tips from Home Chefs

Cook the freekeh:
1 Cook the freekeh:

Heat a medium pot of salted water to boiling on high. Once boiling, add the freekeh and cook 20 to 22 minutes, or until tender. Turn off the heat. Drain thoroughly and return to the pot.

2 Prepare the ingredients:

While the freekeh cooks, wash and dry the fresh produce. Peel and thinly slice the garlic. Slice the kumquats into thin rounds. Remove and discard the collard green stems; roughly chop the leaves. Pick the basil off the stems; discard the stems. Remove the stem of the bird’s eye chile. (For a spicier dish, halve the chile lengthwise to expose the seeds.) Immediately wash your hands and cutting board after handling the chile.

Prepare the ingredients:
Cook the collard greens:
3 Cook the collard greens:

While the freekeh continues to cook, in a medium pan, heat 2 teaspoons of oil on medium-high until hot. Add the garlic; cook, stirring frequently, 1 to 2 minutes, or until fragrant. Add the collard greens and 2 tablespoons of water; season with salt and pepper. Cook, stirring occasionally, 2 to 3 minutes, or until wilted. Transfer to the pot of cooked freekeh. Wipe out the pan.

4 Cook the catfish:

While the freekeh continues to cook, pat the catfish fillets dry with paper towels; season with salt and pepper on both sides. Place the flour onto a large plate. Coat one side of each seasoned fillet in the flour, shaking off any excess. In the same pan used to cook the collard greens, heat a thin layer of oil on medium-high until hot. Add the fillets, coated side down first. Cook 2 to 3 minutes per side, or until golden brown and cooked through. Transfer to a paper towel-lined plate and set aside in a warm place. Carefully drain off and discard the oil, leaving any browned bits (or fond) in the pan.

Cook the catfish:
Make the glaze:
5 Make the glaze:

While the freekeh continues to cook, heat the pan of reserved fond on medium until hot. Add ¼ cup of water; stir in the kumquats, bird’s eye chile, sugar, vinegar and half the basil. Cook, stirring occasionally, 3 to 5 minutes, or until thickened. Turn off the heat; remove and discard the chile. Season with salt and pepper to taste.

6 Dress the freekeh & plate your dish:

Add a drizzle of olive oil into the pot of cooked collard greens and freekeh; stir to combine and season with salt and pepper to taste. Divide the finished freekeh and cooked catfish between 2 plates. Top each fillet with a few spoonfuls of the glaze. Garnish with the remaining basil. Enjoy!

Dress the freekeh & plate your dish:
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