Grilled Catfish with Fresh Herb Chimichurri, photo by Sonia Mendez GarciaPhoto by Sonia Mendez Garcia

Grilled Catfish with Fresh Herb Chimichurri

Cuisine: Latin
Prep Time: 25 minutes
Cook Time: 12 minutes
Servings: 4 servings
A grilling basket will be your best ally when preparing these delicious catfish fillets with a homemade chimichurri sauce.

Before the summer ended, I wanted to try grilling fish on my outdoor grill. My friends suggested I purchase a grilling basket to make the process a lot easier. The baskets are fairly inexpensive and come in a variety of shapes and sizes. So I picked up two fresh catfish fillets, a few scallops and some jumbo shrimp.

I have listed a Cajun seasoning mix to season the fish, but you can use what you like. I actually mix my own blends and keep them stored in an airtight container away from the heat or light. Start with a basic blend of equal parts kosher salt, pepper, garlic, onion, smoked paprika and cumin. Then, depending on what you are cooking, you could add some heat with chipotle or Cayenne pepper. If cooking seafood, add some Old Bay® seasoning which adds great flavor to all kinds of seafood. The grilling baskets worked great for the fillets and I can’t wait to try some vegetables in them next.

Ingredients

  • For the Chimichurri
  • 1 tablespoon basil
  • 1 tablespoon oregano
  • 1 tablespoon parsley
  • 2 tablespoons garlic
  • 2 tablespoons shallots
  • 1 jalapeño pepper
  • 1 chile caribe, chile guero
  • 1 cayenne pepper fresh
  • 2 super chiles or fresno peppers red
  • 1/3-1/2 cup olive oil
  • 4 tablespoons red wine vinegar
  • 1 lemon juice and zest
  • salt and pepper to taste
  • For the Catfish
  • 2 catfish fillets 8 ounces each
  • 1 tablespoon Cajun seasoning mix your choice
  • 1 lemon juice and zest
  • olive oil

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Directions

  1. Chop and combine all of the ingredients to prepare the chimichurri. Whisk in the oil to combine, taste for salt. Cover and set aside. You can use whatever herbs and chilies you like. This is just what I had in my garden that day. You can also process everything in the blender if you prefer a smoother finish for the chimichurri.
  2. Preheat your outdoor grill to medium/high heat for 10 minutes. Season both sides of the fillets with the Cajun seasoning mix. Add lemon zest and juice. Drizzle with olive oil and set aside.
  3. For this next step, I used a grilling basket. I lined one side with easy release foil paper and laid the catfish fillets right on top. I secured the lid on the basket and placed the basket directly onto the hot grill. Grill for 10 to 12 minutes, turning halfway through cooking time or until fish is flaky.
  4. After a few minutes, carefully remove fish from grilling basket and transfer to serving plate.
  5. Generously ladle the chimichurri over the fillets until mostly covered. Serve right away.

Chef Notes

If you do not have fresh herbs available, you could mix the dried herbs with some fresh garlic and chiles. Try to stick to the basics like oregano, parsley and basil. I highly suggest you purchase a grilling basket if you are going to grill fillets. It’s so much easier to handle and you don’t have that problem of it sticking to the grill and tearing. The grill basket works great for vegetables as well. I grilled a few scallops and shrimp on the same day. I seasoned the scallops and shrimp with the same seasonings for the catfish. Grill them directly on the grates that are brushed with oil. The scallops and shrimp will cook in 4 to 6 minutes, depending on how big they are.

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