A grilled fish sandwich recipe that’s surprisingly flavorful

BALANCING ACT A salad of grilled catfish and sour cream anchors this sandwich. Kale and citrus segments provide a fresh counterpoint.


Photo:

JENNY HUANG FOR THE WALL STREET JOURNAL, FOOD STYLING BY TYNA HOANG, PROP STYLING BY BETH PAKRADOONI

THE COOK: MASON HEREFORD


Illustration:

Michael Althougher

Its restaurants: Turkey and the Wolf and Molly’s Rise and Shine, both in New Orleans

What he is known for: Imaginative and dramatic sandwiches. A generous hand with spices and a penchant for bold flavors.

WSJ+ members: Sign up for a cooking class with Mason Hereford at wsjplus.com/slowfoodfast.

IT DID NOT LAST LONG after opening Turkey and the Wolf in New Orleans in 2016 for chef Mason Hereford to gain a loyal following for his sandwiches. In fact, he considers himself a “sandwich maestro” since he was a line chef and experimented in other chefs’ kitchens.

This open-faced sandwich, Mr. Hereford’s first Slow Food fast recipe, hails from those freewheeling days. The combination of creamy grilled catfish salad with kale, clementines and a tangy Sriracha dressing exudes youthful exuberance.

Mr. Hereford grills the catfish until well charred. “To get the texture and flavor right, you want it Yes, really cook this. You can’t overcook it,” he said. He also recommends layering kale and citrus fruits. “If a spoonful of dressing tastes good and the greens you’re putting it on aren’t going to droop or become oversaturated,” he said, “then I don’t think you should hold back.”

—Kitty Greenwald is a chef, food writer, and co-author of Slow Fires (Clarkson Potter)

To explore and browse all of our recipes, visit the WSJ Recipes page.

Chef Mason Hereford’s first Slow Food Fast recipe, this open-faced sandwich combines creamy grilled catfish salad with kale, clementines and a tangy sriracha dressing.

JENNY HUANG FOR THE WALL STREET JOURNAL, FOOD STYLING BY TYNA HOANG, PROP STYLING BY BETH PAKRADOONI

ingredients

  • 6½ tablespoons olive oil
  • 1½ pounds of catfish fillets
  • Kosher salt and freshly ground black pepper
  • 6 ounces of kale, stemmed
  • 4 thick slices of farmhouse bread
  • ¼ cup sour cream
  • 1½ tablespoons fish sauce
  • 1 tablespoon malt vinegar
  • 2½ tablespoons fresh lime juice
  • 1 jalapeño, chopped
  • 1 tablespoon rice vinegar
  • ½ tablespoon Sriracha
  • ½ cup chopped cilantro
  • ¼ cup chopped parsley
  • 12 very thin slices of red onion
  • 1½ tangerines or clementines, divided into segments
  • 1 (2-inch) piece horseradish root, peeled (optional)

directions

  1. Preheat a grill to medium-high or place a griddle pan on the stovetop over medium-high heat. Rub the fish with 1½ tablespoons olive oil and season the fillets with salt and pepper. In a large bowl, toss kale with 1 tablespoon olive oil. Season with salt and pepper. Brush both sides of the bread generously with the remaining olive oil.
  2. Place fish on grill or grill pan and grill, uncovered, until both sides are heavily grilled and fish is well cooked, about 3 minutes per side. Put the fish on a plate and don’t worry if it falls apart. Grill the kale over medium-high heat until blistered in spots, about 30 seconds per side, and place in a large bowl. Grill the bread until charred in spots and crispy, about 1 minute per side.
  3. Make the Catfish Salad: In a medium bowl, combine sour cream, half the fish sauce, malt vinegar, 1 tablespoon lime juice, and chopped jalapeño. Stir in grilled catfish, break fillets into bite-sized pieces. Season with salt and pepper.
  4. Prepare the dressing just before serving: In a small bowl, combine the remaining lime juice and fish sauce with the rice vinegar and sriracha. Over a medium bowl, shred grilled kale into 2-inch pieces. Add the cilantro, parsley, onions and citrus chunks. Toss the salad with enough dressing to coat generously. Spread catfish salad on grilled bread. Garnish with kale citrus salad. Grate horseradish on top, if using.

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