Blackened Catfish with Cantaloupe Salsa

blackened catfish with cantaloupe salsa 003

Last week, as I was thumbing through the grocery ads, I came across a deal I couldn’t pass up – 4/$1 cantaloupe at my local Sprouts. When I made my visit, I picked up 4 cantaloupe. I came out of the store with a smile on my face. I love cantaloupe.

But what was I going to do with 4 cantaloupe? I couldn’t eat them all for breakfast…

Enter cantaloupe salsa. In a twist of fate, Deb at Smitten Kitchen was on a cantaloupe kick. And in a stroke of genius, she created this cantaloupe salsa, a tantalizing blend of cool, sweet and spicy. I was in heaven. I immediately knew I would be making this to top some fish.

And if you have lived in Texas (or just about anywhere in the South) for any length of time, you know catfish is everywhere. Most of it is coated in cornmeal and fried, of course (not that there is anything wrong with that – I love a perfectly fried catfish!), but a spicy blackened catfish is also quite common. Blackening seasoning, a Cajun seasoning, is a mixture of spices that are typically generously sprinkled over fish or chicken and then sautéed in a pan at a relatively high heat. It’s a quick, easy, and healthy way to prepare seafood, and it sounded like the perfect companion for the cantaloupe salsa.

This turned out to be quite a success! The heat in the cayenne melded perfectly with the zippy jalapenos and sweet melon. I served this with a bit of steamed rice. With the 100-degree temperatures predicted this week, this was the perfect dish to keep dinner light, yet flavorful.

One cantaloupe down, 3 to go.


Cantaloupe Salsa, adapted from Smitten Kitchen:

1 medium cantaloupe, seeded and diced

1/4 c sweet yellow onion, diced

juice of 2 limes

2-3 serrano or jalapeno chiles, seeded and diced

2 T sweet red bell pepper, diced

1 t basil, minced

2 T cilantro, minced

salt to taste

Mix together ingredients and serve immediately, or refrigerate for several hours to allow flavors to meld.


Blackened Catfish, adapted from Gourmet magazine

2 t sweet paprika

1/2 t garlic powder

1/2 t dried oregano, crumbled

1/4 t cayenne

1/2 t sugar

1/2 t salt

1/4 t ground black pepper

4 catfish fillets

1 T olive oil

1 T unsalted butter

In a small bowl combine the paprika, garlic, oregano, cayenne, sugar, salt, and pepper. Pat the catfish dry thoroughly with paper towels. Sprinkle the catfish with the spices on both sides, coating them well. In a large cast iron skillet, heat oil to moderately high heat. Add butter and heat until foam subsides. Add catfish and saute for 3-4 minutes per side, or until fish is cooked through.

To serve:

Place catfish fillets on plates, and spoon 1/4 – 1/2 cup of salsa over. Serve with hot steamed rice, if desired.

Serves 4.


Filed under Budget-Friendly, Gluten-Free, Healthy Meals, Main Dishes, Quick and Easy, Seafood

12 responses to “Blackened Catfish with Cantaloupe Salsa

  1. I also eyed that cantaloupe salsa recipe when Deb posted it the other day, and I love the sound of it with catfish! Blackened fish is one of my absolute favorites.

  2. I love catfish. This looks really delicious. I like the cantaloupe salsa that you had with this. I’m sure it goes well together.

  3. very creative and wonderful meal, I love how you incorporated the cantaloupe salsa to give it a gourmet touch!

  4. This is so up my street, I love fish and rice and with that gorgeous salad too – heaven!

  5. This sounds fantastic! I really like catfish, and the cantaloupe salsa sounds perfect for it.

  6. Four cantaloup for a dollar? Wow! I am so excited to try this dish. My family loves cantaloupe and I think it would be fantastic with the blackened catfish.

  7. The catfish looks wonderful, healthy and tasty. What a unique combo adding the cantaloupe.

    Thank you so much for sharing.

  8. Wow this looks and sounds amazing! I can’t get catfish here, but I’ll certainly try everything else with another white fish! Yummo!
    Love your blog and photography……. 🙂

  9. tastyeatsathome

    HannahBanana, thanks! Yes, you could substitute any other white-fleshed fish, I’m sure. Around here (in North Texas), we’re land-locked and catfish is one of the few fishes we can get at a reasonable price.

  10. I love a fruit salsa, cantelope sounds like a fun addition.

  11. Cantaloupe salsa — what a deliciously smart idea! It’s got such a lovely nuanced flavor that would work well with fish, without overpowering it.

  12. This looks so good! I would never have thought to make a cantaloupe salsa, but I can see that going so well with catfish – yum!

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