Catfish: it doesn’t have to be deep-fried. That’s the message chef Gorji of Canary by Gorji in Dallas is trying to send. And as August is National Catfish Month, Gorji wants to make sure it's heard loud and clear that the quirky, unusual fish doesn’t have to be all about grease and french fries, and that it is, believe it or not, quite likeable.
Gorji, who opened Canary by Gorji almost nine and a half years ago, serves original Mediterranean cuisine that he likes to describe as a "piece of every country I like." His menu includes a diverse collection of dishes boasting characteristics from Spain, Italy, and France, showing such range because he says he is uncertain of his nationality due to the amount of countries he’s lived in. Along with running the restaurant entirely by himself, Gorji does all his shopping as well, making daily trips to farmers markets and supermarkets to pick the best ingredients the season has to offer.
"I need to know what I’m cooking," he explains, and the proof is in the pudding. Despite it being a small, 10-table space, Gorji's restaurant has garnered much critical attention over the years, earning praise for everything from the restaurant to his bubbly personality to his line of products. Interestingly enough, nothing you eat at Canary will have sugar in it, and you'll often find pomegranate on your plate. But catfish, he explains, is one of his most prized dishes available on the menu. He works hard to diminish the concept that catfish doesn’t belong in an upscale restaurant by using creative and fresh ingredients like avocado and lime juice. His advice for cooking with catfish? Careful with seasoning, as it is a light fish and can be overpowered easily, and always stick with breading when cooking with it, just don't use cornmeal.
Using bright and flavorful ingredients, this recipe proves that catfish can be more sophisticated than just a deep-fried sandwich.
Anne Dolce is the Cook Editor at The Daily Meal. Follow her on Twitter @anniecdolce