Buttery Catfish in a Creamy Shallot Sauce

Catfish is often covered in a bulletproof coating of cornmeal and spices or drowned in a heavy, highly seasoned sauce. This leads one to believe that the main point of catfish recipes is to draw your taste bud’s attention away from the fish itself. This is a shame, because the flavor of catfish is actually quite delicate and pleasant, and rarely fishy. If you don’t believe us, try our recipe for Buttery Catfish with Creamy Shallot Sauce and just see if it doesn’t change your mind.

In this recipe the fish is seasoned only with salt, topped with a creamy shallot, butter and coconut milk sauce and finished with a garnish of chives. The catfish soaks up the rich sauce and whatever remains you’ll be tempted to lick right off the plate. “Buttery” is a good way to describe both the sauce and the texture of the fish – every bite melts in your mouth. You can use this recipe with any type of seafood but there are many reasons to give catfish a try.

Catfish has a tender texture that is hard to overcook, which makes it more fool-proof than some other types of fish. You can prepare it any way you like, although methods that crisp up the outside a little bit provide a nice contrast to the moist interior. Catfish is often one of the more affordable choices at the seafood counter and as we discussed last week, American farm-raised catfish has very few toxins and a decent amount of fatty-acids. Best of all, a fillet takes only about 8 minutes to cook which means you can have this elegant (yes, we are calling catfish elegant) meal on the table in less than 15 minutes.

2 –3 servings


  • 2 catfish fillets (about 1 pound of fish)
  • 1 tablespoon olive oil
  • 1 shallot, finely chopped
  • 3 tablespoons butter
  • 1/2 cup coconut milk
  • Juice from 1 lemon
  • Finely chopped chives for garnish


Pat the fish dry and lightly salt.

Heat olive oil over medium-high heat and sauté shallot about 30 seconds.

Add butter. When the butter is completely melted add the catfish.

Let fry about 4 minutes on each side. If the fish is really sticking to the pan, it’s probably not ready to flip yet.

Remove the fish from the skillet.

Turn heat down to medium and add lemon juice.

Scrape up the crispy bits from the bottom of the pan then add coconut milk. Let boil about 3 minutes, stirring occasionally, until sauce thickens. Pour over catfish. Garnish with chives.

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