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Pan Fried Catfish

1/4 c Chinese fermented black beans
1/4 c Sherry
1 c Fish stock, or: low-sodium chicken stock, or water
1 tb Finely minced garlic
1 ts Finely minced fresh ginger -=OR=- 1 tb Powdered ginger
1/2 c Whipping cream
4 tb Unsalted butter
4 Catfish fillets, 6-8 oz each
Vegetable oil, to fill pan to 1-inch depth
1/2 c Cornstarch
8 Cilantro sprigs


RINSE THE BEANS under cold running water, then place them in a saucepan with the sherry. Place over medium heat and cook for 2 minutes. Add the fish stock, garlic and ginger and cook for another 5 minutes, reducing by 1/3. Scrape the liquid and beans into a blender and puree. Pass the puree through a strainer to remove the skins of the beans and replace in saucepan. Add the cream and cook until the sauce has a consistency to coat the back of a spoon. Off flame, whisk in the butter. Keep the sauce warm while you cook the fish. Dry the catfish fillets on towels and dredge lightly in the cornstarch, shaking off the excess. Heat the oil in a skillet and when hot, place the catfish fillets in the hot oil. Cook 3 to 4 minutes on each side, or until crispy and dark golden in color. Remove to paper towels and pat dry. To serve, mask the bottom of a serving platter with a little sauce. Arrange the fillets on the platter, and decorate with cilantro. Offer the sauce on the side.


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