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Catfish with a Cajun Kick [Recipe]

  • 3/11/2016 8:46:00 AM
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Blackened catfish recipe from the chefs at Atlas World Grill in Iowa City | Iowa Outdoors MagazineFrom the March/April 2016 Wild Cuisine section of Iowa Outdoors magazine

Atlas World Grill is a veteran of the Iowa City food and drink scene, having served the campus community for more than 15 years. But the partnership between co-owners Jack Piper and James Adrian goes back way further. The two were friends at the University of Iowa during their college days, and stayed in close contact after Adrian moved to Louisiana and Piper headed for Colorado. Their frequent talks on the phone always ended with “We should open a restaurant.”

With impressive restaurant resumes, the two Iowa natives made that dream a reality in 2000. Adrian started cooking when he was 14, and had a stint as a chef at Louisiana’s number one rated restaurant, the place that turned out Emeril Lagasse and Paul Prudhomme. With a patio on the corner of Iowa Avenue and Dubuque Street, just off-campus, Atlas is a perfect stop for a drink. House specialties abound, like the Jamaican Ten Speed, but in Iowa City, Atlas is known as the “mojito place.”

Adrian and Piper stress food and drinks prepared from scratch, and high-end service. Daily specials revolve around locally-grown seasonal ingredients, like sweet corn ice cream. Truly an eatery where you can eat both home and abroad, an entire meal, from drinks and appetizers to dessert, can easily span five cultures. And if you can’t find a salad on this menu, you won’t find it anywhere.

With Adrian’s roots in Cajun-Creole cuisine, his recipe for blackened catfish is sure to be a hit at your next fish fry. Serve it with jambalaya, featured in the January/February 2016 issue.

4 catfish fillets, 7 ounces each
1 cup Creole seasoning

Heat a cast iron skillet over high for 20 minutes. Cook outside on a grill or camp stove as this produces a lot of smoke. Generously coat the internal side of the fillet with Creole seasoning. Place fillets spice-side down in hot skillet. Cook five minutes, flip, and cook an additional three minutes. Remove from pan, place on cookie sheet and place in 350° F oven. Bake until done, about 15 minutes. Place each filet over one cup jambalaya (see Jan/Feb 2016 issue for recipe), drizzle with remoulade and serve with slaw.

¾ cup paprika
3 tablespoons onion powder
3 tablespoons garlic powder
3 tablespoons dried leaf thyme
3 tablespoons dried leaf oregano
3 tablespoons white pepper
3 tablespoons black pepper
1 ½ tablespoons cayenne pepper
¾ cup kosher salt

One lemon (juice and zest)
½ cup stone ground mustard
¼ cup Dijon mustard
¼ cup prepared horseradish
¼ cup white vinegar
¼ cup worcestershire sauce
½ cup ketchup
1 tablespoon Louisiana hot sauce
½ tablespoon minced garlic
½ tablespoon kosher salt
½ tablespoon black pepper
1 ½ tablespoons paprika
1 tablespoon celery salt
¼ cup chopped flat leaf parsley
2 green onions, chopped (both white
and green part)
2 cups mayonnaise

Zest and juice lemon. Combine with other ingredients in blender and blend until smooth. Remoulade is often used with seafood, especially fried fish and crab cakes, but is used in a variety of ways.

1 head green cabbage, thinly sliced
1 red onion, julienned
4 stalks celery, thinly cut on the bias
3 Granny Smith apples, cored and
thinly sliced

1 cup mayonnaise
¼ cup apple cider vinegar
¼ cup sugar
1 teaspoon celery salt
¼ teaspoon black pepper

Whisk dressing ingredients together in a bowl. Toss in remaining ingredients.

Atlas World Grill
Open daily 11 a.m. to 10 p.m.
127 Iowa Ave., Iowa City
319-341-7700 •

For more wild recipes, check out our Outdoor and Wild Recipes and Dutch Oven Recipes boards on Pinterest.

Wild game jambalaya recipe from the chefs at Atlas World Grill in Iowa City | Iowa Outdoors Magazine