“The Catfish Are Coming!” Baton Rouge-style Taco Recipe

These catfish tacos with collard greens and maque choux combine classic elements of the regional cuisine of Baton Rouge. Pass the Louisiana hot sauce.

Recipe courtesy Jay Ducote and Aimee Tortorich, chefs, Gov’t Taco, Baton Rouge, LA

These tacos feature core elements of Baton Rouge cuisine: catfish, collards and maque choux (similar to a succotash). It’s a nod to the increasingly global quality of the region’s food scene. Jay Ducote is a local chef and writer with a popular blog and radio show/podcast. His first restaurant, Gov’t Taco, will open in the newly redeveloped White Star Market food hall early next year. The maque choux is also great as a side dish with any meal.

Getting to Know Baton Rouge, Louisiana's Undercover Culinary Capital
Ingredients
  • 2 cups heavy cream
  • ½ cup sweet mustard, Jay D’s Louisiana Molasses Mustard preferred
  • ¼ cup Louisiana-style hot sauce*
  • 1½ pounds catfish fillets, cut lengthwise into ½-inch strips
  • 1 cup cornmeal
  • 1 cup masa harina
  • 2 tablespoons Cajun seasoning, Slap Ya Mama Cajun Seasoning preferred
  • Canola oil (for frying)
  • 1 bunch collard greens, stalks removed, sliced thin
  • 12 corn tortillas
  • Corn​ ​Maque​ ​Choux (recipe below)
Directions

Combine heavy cream, mustard and hot sauce. Add catfish, and marinate in refrigerator for 1 hour. Meanwhile, combine cornmeal, masa harina and Cajun seasoning in shallow bowl or platter.

Add 2 inches oil to wide, deep pot (like Dutch oven). Warm over medium-high heat to 350–375°F.

Remove catfish from marinade. Dredge strips in cornmeal mixture, shake off excess, and add to pan. Work in batches, if necessary, so fish doesn’t touch. Fry for 3–5 minutes, turning occasionally, until deep golden brown. Drain on paper towels.

Working in batches, if necessary, lower greens into oil and cover quickly (they will spatter). Fry for 30 seconds, or until crisp. Drain on paper towels.

Heat tortillas just before serving. Divide catfish among tortillas. Top with maque choux, and garnish with collard greens. Serve with Louisiana-style hot sauce. Serves 4–6

*Louisiana-style hot sauce is based with vinegar and made with red chiles. Some available brands include Crystal, Trappey’s and Slap Ya Mama.) 

Corn Maque Choux Ingredients
  • 4 ears corn, shucked
  • 3 tablespoons extra virgin olive oil
  • 3 cloves garlic, minced
  • 1 jalapeño, seeded and minced
  • 1 small yellow onion, diced
  • ½ red bell pepper, diced
  • 2 bay leaves
  • 1 teaspoon fresh thyme
  • 1 tablespoon Cajun seasoning, Slap Ya Mama Cajun seasoning preferred
  • ¼ tablespoons white wine, for deglazing
  • ½ cup heavy cream
  • ¼ cup unsalted butter
Corn Maque Choux Directions

Rub corn with 1 tablespoon olive oil. On outdoor grill or grill pan over high heat, cook corn until lightly charred, about 5 minutes. Slice kernels from corn.

Heat 2 tablespoons olive oil in large sauté pan over medium-high heat. Add corn, garlic, jalapeño, onion, bell pepper, herbs and seasoning. Cook until onions and peppers are very soft, about 10 minutes. Deglaze with white wine, and stir until wine nearly evaporates. Reduce heat to low, and add cream and butter. Cook for 3 minutes. Keep warm.

Pair It

Morgadío 2016 Albariño (Rías Baixas); $19, 90 points. This wine acts like a zippy squeeze of citrus to cut through these rich tacos. The juicy orange and rip grapefruit flavors refresh the palate and play well with the spicier flavors.

Published on December 11, 2017
About the Author
Nils Bernstein
Contributing Editor, Food

A fan of sweet wines, sour beers, and old-school Rioja, Bernstein is an exhaustive traveler in search of new and unsung chefs and restaurants, innovative wine and food pairings, and eating and drinking at the source. In addition to Wine Enthusiast, Bernstein has written for Bon Appetit, Men’s Journal, New York Times, Men’s Fitness, Hemispheres, and Kinfolk, among others.

Email: nbernstein@wineenthusiast.net



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