Catfish Tacos With Pimento Cheese Crema and Watermelon Salsa


1/2 pound catfish nuggets
1/2 cup buttermilk
1 teaspoon sriracha
1 Zest of lemon
2 cloves garlic, sliced
1/2 cup yellow cornmeal
1/2 tablespoon kosher salt
1/2 tablespoon black pepper
1 teaspoon paprika
Canola oil
6 smalls corn tortillas, warmed
Cabbage, shredded (optional)
Pimento cheese crema:
4 ounces cream cheese, softened
1 cup Mexican cheese blend
1/4 cup mozzarella cheese
1/2 small red onion, roughly chopped
1/2 teaspoon celery seed
2 cloves garlic, minced
2 tablespoons pimentos, chopped
1/4 cup mayonnaise
1/4 cup crema mexicana
1/2 tablespoon Tabasco
1/2 Juice of lime
Watermelon Salsa:
1 tomato, deseeded and chopped
1 cup watermelon, seedless and chopped
1 Persian cucumber, diced
1/2 small red onion, diced
1 small avocado, pitted and chopped
2 tablespoons fresh cilantro, chopped
1 serrano pepper, finely chopped
2 cloves garlic, minced
1 Juice of lime
Kosher salt, to taste


Starting with the catfish, whisk together the buttermilk, lemon zest, sriracha and garlic. Add the fish, coating well. Cover and pop into the fridge for an hour.
While the fish chills, mix together cornmeal, salt, pepper and paprika. Set aside.
For the sauce, beat the cream cheese in the bowl of an electric mixer until smooth. Add the remaining ingredients, mix well, cover and chill.
Once the fish has finished marinating in the buttermilk, set a shallow pat of canola oil over medium high heat. As the oil heats, drop each piece of fish into the cornmeal coating, making sure to cover all sides. Fry each piece of fish for approximately 3-5 minutes (depending on size of the nuggets) or until done. Set aside to drain on a paper towel lined plate.
Fill the warm tortillas with a bit of cabbage, then pieces of catfish. Top with a bit of the pimento crema sauce and serve.
For salsa: Mix all of the ingredients together in a bowl. Chill until ready to eat.


We started with our email banter and came up with something that would speak to our Southern and Californian tastes, the flavors that make our mouths water. The biggest Southern influences in this meal would be catfish coated in crusty cornmeal, a sauce reminiscent of pimento cheese thin enough to drape on top, and a twist on fried green tomatoes. The California style would appear in the form of tacos, a bright salsa and firm tomatillos. This would be our “Southern” California lunch on a sunny Southern California afternoon.




Monday, September 20, 2010 - 10:57am


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