If you love fish as much as I do, this spicy, oven baked, whole catfish is a must try. It is so flavorful and has only 3g of carbs per serving!
Unlike most of my previous recipes, this one takes a while to make, but I promise it is worth it.
I make it about twice a month at my house and it never lasts more than a day. We literally don’t stop eating it once we start till it’s all gone.
I like to buy my catfish from an Asian market because it’s the closest store to my house that carries it. When you buy, it is sliced vertically and the insides are completely cleaned out.
Also, I buy a whole catfish, not a catfish fillet. So there are bones in it. I personally don’t mind the bones because they are not broken throughout the fish and it’s quite easy to separate fish from bone while eating, but if you’re giving this to young kids, you need to be aware of this.
My six year old loves this and she can probably eat one-third of it by herself if I let her but I need to break out the fish from the bone and also show her how to search for smaller pieces in case I missed any.
How to bake a whole catfish
Start by preheating your oven to 400 F.
Blend the bell pepper, habanero pepper, and onions together. Then add the ginger, garlic, and herbs and blend some more till it’s all completely pureed.
I use thyme, dill, and sage but you can use any herbs of your choice. Pour in a bowl, add some salt and stir.
To prep the fish, use the lemon to clean the fish in and out by completely squeezing the lemon juice on the fish and rubbing it in. Rinse when done.
This helps to clean the fish and reduce its sliminess, and also cuts down on the strong fishy smell, which might be a bother to some.
You can also use lime if that’s what you have on hand.
Make shallow slices on the fish, about 3 to 4 on both sides. Do not cut through to the other side as we still need the fish to be somewhat whole.
Scoop about half of the pureed mixture into these holes and in the center slit as well (where the insides were cleaned out). You can put all the mixture in if you want, but I like to put half and use the other half to garnish the fish when baked.
It gives it a little extra spicy kick if you love spicy foods. Don’t forget to flip the fish and do the underside as well.
When you’re done, wrap the fish in foil and place in a baking pan/dish. You don’t want the fish to dry out so the foil helps trap in the juices and keep it moist.
Wrap it completely like a burrito. Place the fish in the bottom rack of your oven and set your timer to 45 mins.
Now take a break while the oven does its thing. You have enough time to watch an episode of your favorite Netflix series 🙂
After 45 minutes, open the foil at the top and leave the fish in for another 5 minutes to let it dry just a bit and become more firm. During the last 5 minutes, if you didn’t use up all the mixed puree, now is the time to prepare it.
Add ¼ cup of olive oil to a pan on medium heat, then add the pureed mix. Since it’s already loaded with spices, all you need to do is stir for about 5 minutes.
Bring out the fish from the oven and garnish with the sauce. This step is completely optional, the baked catfish tastes just as awesome without the extra sauce.
This will keep for a few days in the fridge but if you have fish lovers in your house, then it will probably last one day or two at the most.
This goes well with:
Baked Whole Catfish
- 1 catfish
- 1/4 cup olive oil
- 1/2 bell pepper
- 1/2 onions
- 2 garlic cloves
- 1/2 ginger root
- 1 habanero pepper
- 1/2 sprig thyme leaves
- 1/2 sprig dill
- 1 sprig sage
- Preheat oven to 400.
- Blend the bell pepper, habanero and onions.
- Add the ginger, garlic and herbs (thyme, dill, sage or any herbs of choice) and blend.
- Add salt and stir.
- Clean the fish using lemon to reduce fishy smell.
- Make shallow slices on the fish, about 3 - 4 on both sides.
- Scoop about half of the pureed mixture into these holes and in the center slit.
- Keep the other half to use later.
- Completely wrap the fish in foil and place in bottom rack of oven for 45 mins.
- Optional: Add ¼ cup of olive oil to a pan on medium heat, then add the pureed mix and stir for 5mins.
- Open the foil at the top and leave the fish in for another 5 minutes.
- Bring out the fish from the oven and garnish with the sauce or drizzle with olive oil if you don’t want to use the sauce.