Cajun cuisine, as a whole, is a variety of different cultures all thrown into one pot. The word “Cajun” is an evolution of the word “Acadian” which was a group of people, primarily from France, who immigrated to Acadia in the the Canadian Maritime Provinces (New Brunswick, Nova Scotia, Prince Edward Island). When they refused to submit to the British Crown in 1755, 14,000 Arcadians were deported out of Canada and ended up settling in southern Louisiana. Once they settled in Louisiana, the Acadian people came into contact with other cultures including Native American, Black Creole, German, Spaniard, and Italian. By integrating their French culinary experience with the cooking of other cultures, a distinct Cajun cuisine began to emerge.
The main distinction between Cajun and Creole cooking is that the Creoles were mostly upper-class French that settled directly in Louisiana when it was a French colony. The Cajun’s were considered lower class and their food was more of a fusion of different cultures than the Creole’s French cuisine adapted to local ingredients.
This traditional Cajun recipe adds Louisiana touches like pecans, Creole spices, and pan fried catfish to the traditional buttery French Sole Meuniere.
Cajun Catfish Pecan Meuniere
- Large nonstick pan
- 4 large Fresh or frozen catfish fillets (or sole, flounder, tilapia)
- 1 cup Flour
- 2 tbsp Cajun seasoning mix
- 2 large Eggs, beaten
- ½ cup Vegetable oil
- ¼ cup Milk
- 8 tbsp Butter
- 1 cup Pecan pieces
- 4 tbsp Parsley, chopped
- 2 tbsp Garlic, minced
- 2 tbsp Fresh lemon juice
- ¼ cup Worcestershire sauce
- ¼ cup Heavy cream
- ¼ tsp Cayenne pepper
- 1 tsp Salt
- Prep – Combine half the Cajun seasoning with flour in a shallow bowl. Combine eggs and milk together in a second shallow bowl. Season the fish with the remaining Cajun seasoning.
- Cook Fish – Heat oil over medium-high heat in a large nonstick pan. Dredge the fillets in the flour then dip in egg mixture. Dredge again in the flour. When oil is hot but not yet smoking, lay fillets into the pan and cook until golden, about 3 to 4 minutes on each side. Remove to a paper lined plate. Discard any oil in pan, wipe down with paper towels, and return to the stove.
- Make Sauce – Melt ¼ of the butter in the same pan over medium-high heat. When butter begins to foam, add pecan pieces and cook, stirring constantly, until lightly toasted, about 2 minutes. Add the parsley, lemon juice, garlic, Worcestershire sauce, and cream. Whisk for around 20 seconds and remove from heat. Add salt, cayenne pepper, and remaining small cubes of butter. Stir until butter is completely melted.
- Serve – Lay fish on a serving dish or individual plates. Spoon sauce over the fillets and serve.