Prep 45 mins
Cook 0 mins
This is a signature dish of The Downtown Grill in Oxford, MS. Named after the "gentleman pirate" of New Orleans, Jean Lafitte, it's the personal favorite of Oxford's most famous current resident, author John Grisham. One of my personal faves, too, and I hope it becomes one of yours. Takes a little time, but it's a feast! In fact, if you ever have to 'walk the plank', you might want to request this for your last meal. :) P.S. No single step is difficult. However, the fact that you're juggling 3 things on the stove at once (catfish, shrimp and Cajun cream sauce) makes it a little complicated. Please read the recipe through carefully first and decide whether you want to cook the catfish or make the sauce first. Good to have A Plan with this one.
- 2 eggs
- 1 cup milk
- 2 cups all-purpose flour
- 1 1⁄4 teaspoons salt, divided
- 1 1⁄2 teaspoons ground red pepper, divided (may increase or decrease to taste)
- 4 (6 ounce) catfish fillets
- vegetable oil, for frying
- 12 large raw shrimp, peeled and deveined
- 1 tablespoon butter or 1 tablespoon margarine
- 2 teaspoons minced garlic
- 1⁄4 cup sweet vermouth
- 2 cups whipping cream
- 1⁄4 cup thinly-sliced green onion, divided
- 2 teaspoons fresh lemon juice
- 3 pieces thinly-sliced ham, cut into strips (I use 'shaved' ham from the deli)
- lemon wedge, for garnish (optional, but I recommend)
- Combine eggs and milk in mixing bowl; stir until thoroughly blended.
- Combine flour, 1 teaspoon salt and 1/2 teaspoon red pepper in shallow dish, stirring well to mix. (I would suggest using 1/4 teaspoons red pepper if you're a wimp and 3/4 teaspoons if you're very bold. :) ).
- Pour enough oil into a Dutch oven or electric skillet to reach a depth of 3 inches; heat to 360 degrees F.
- Rinse catfish fillets; pat dry with paper towels.
- Dredge fillets in flour mixture; dip in milk mixture to coat thoroughly; dredge in flour mixture a second time.
- When oil reaches correct temperature, add catfish; deep-fry approximately 6 minutes, until golden-brown. (If done, fish should flake easily when scraped with the tines of a fork.).
- Drain catfish on paper towels to absorb excess grease; keep warm (microwave is good).
- Meanwhile, melt butter in large skillet over medium heat.
- Add shrimp and garlic; cook, stirring often, approximately 3 to 5 minutes, until shrimp are pink and done.
- Remove shrimp and set aside; add vermouth to drippings in skillet.
- Stir well to incorporate vermouth; bring to a boil; allow mixture to boil for 1 minute.
- Add whipping cream, 2 tablespoons sliced green onions, lemon juice, remaining 1/4 teaspoon salt, and remaining red pepper (again, add or subtract depending on how spicy you like your food); cook, stirring frequently, until sauce thickens (approx. 12-15 minutes).
- To assemble, place one fried catfish fillet on each plate; drizzle with equal amounts of Cajun cream sauce; top with cooked shrimp and strips of ham; sprinkle with remaining sliced green onion; garnish with lemon wedges to squeeze on top.
Been making this dish for a decade now and it has yet to get old. I have found that lump crab meat is also a nice addition to throw in with the shrimp and sauce and up the richness even more!
I have been making this recipe for several years now - I was getting ready to post it myself, when I found yours, saving me the time. It is a wonderful treat when I have the time (and the inclination to ignore my waistline for a night!) One of my favorites, thanks for posting!