A rare miss from The Food Chain and Blue Apron. #shame
Last week, Wife and I were talking about the blog and actually rating the dishes. The fact is, I usually like everything we cook because I’m not going to make foods I hate. It’s not like the blog is going to suddenly start celebrating asparagus.
Some of the dishes are from my own brain, which means they are already perfect in every way. Others come from celebrity chefs who are competing for my attention (Gordon Ramsay, Bobby Flay, the Swedish Chef), and they tend to know what they’re doing. More recently, the recipes are from our completely unofficial sponsor, Blue Apron.
Well, if I’m going to be rating a dish on the lower end of the rating spectrum, here it is.
This dish was a miss, which is a real shame. We’ve had catfish and lentils before. We both love catfish already. Wife has always been on the fence with lentils, but she’s never outright refused to eat them. After this dish, something tells me this is going to be the last time lentils are allowed in the house.
So what’s wrong with the dish? For starters, it doesn’t look very appetizing. Some of that is our fault because the catfish is supposed to be a crispy golden brown, and ours is definitely overcooked. Let’s face facts though. This is the color wheel we’re talking about:
- Lentils – Black
- Collard greens – Dark green
- Capers – Dark green
- Catfish – Golden Brown
Nothing about this plate is going to pop. No vibrancy. No color. So with our fish overcooked, it takes a dish that’s a little muddy looking already and turns it into Swamp Thing.
But maybe you’re reading this and saying, “Hey! I like lentils. I like catfish. I don’t care about how it looks. And what did Swamp Thing ever do to you?” To that I say: fine. And that’s ok. Everyone has different tastes and certain things (presentation included) are only important to some people. I have a food blog, so it’s important to me.
Beyond the plating, we both found the lentils to be bland. So if we used lentils again, which is unlikely, I’d definitely come as close to overseasoning them as possible, i.e. salt, pepper, lemon, etc.
I’d also be more cautious about how long the catfish cooks in the butter, because the difference between ‘golden brown’ and ‘overdone’ is really only a couple of seconds.
Lastly, and I know I’m beating a dead catfish here (see what I did there?) I’d probably include some form of garnish just to make it looks more appealing. The dish uses lemons, so a lemon wedge or perhaps some zest might bring some life back to this dish.
Did you try this last week? Are you planning on making it in the future? Let me know what you think in the comments. Any suggestions? Or did you like it as is, and I’m completely off base or drunk? Positive and negatives are always welcome below.
NOTE: If you’re planning on making this independent of Blue Apron and don’t want to Google this yourself, “ras el hanout” is a combination of coriander, cumin, allspice, cardamom, ginger, tumeric and black pepper.
Recipe courtesy of Blue Apron
Blue Apron calories: about 700
My Fitness Pal calories: 591
2 Catfish Fillets
½ Cup Black Beluga Lentils
1 Bunch Collard Greens
1 Yellow Onion
4 Tablespoons Butter
2 Tablespoons Rice Flour
2 Teaspoons Ras El Hanout
1 Tablespoon Capers
Heat a large pot of salted water to boiling on high. Once boiling, add the lentil sand cook 24 to 26 minutes, or until tender. Drain thoroughly and return to the pot. Set aside in a warm place.
While the lentils cook, wash and dry the fresh produce. Peel, halve and thinly slice the onion. Remove and discard the collard green stems; roughly chop the leaves. Using a peeler, remove the yellow rind of the lemon, avoiding the white pith; mince the rind to get 2 teaspoons of zest (or use a zester). Quarter and deseed the lemon. Roughly chop the capers.
While the lentils continue to cook, in a medium pan (nonstick, if you have one), heat 2 teaspoons of olive oil on medium-high until hot. Add the onion and ras el hanout and cook, stirring frequently, 2 to 4 minutes, or until softened and fragrant. Add the collard greens and ¼ cup of water; season with salt and pepper. Cook, stirring frequently, 4 to 6 minutes, or until the collard greens have wilted and the water has cooked off. Transfer to a bowl and set aside in a warm place. Rinse and wipe out the pan.
While the lentils continue to cook, place the rice flour on a plate. Pat the catfish fillets dry with paper towels; season with salt and pepper on both sides. Coat 1 side of each seasoned fillet in the rice flour (tapping off any excess). In the pan used to cook the collard greens, melt ¾ of the butter on medium until hot. Add the fillets, coated sides down, and cook 3 to 5 minutes on the first side, or until the fillets and butter are golden brown. Flip the fillets and cook 1 to 2 minutes, or until almost cooked through.
Add the capers and the juice of 3 lemon wedges to the pan of catfish; season with salt and pepper. Cook, occasionally spooning the sauce over the fillets, 1 to 2 minutes, or until thoroughly combined and the catfish is cooked through. Remove from heat and set aside in a warm place.
To the pot of cooked lentils, add the cooked collard greens, lemon zest,remaining butter and the juice of the remaining lemon wedge. Cook on medium, stirring frequently, 1 to 2 minutes, or until thoroughly combined and heated through. Remove from heat and season with salt and pepper to taste. Divide the finished lentils and finished catfish fillets between 2 dishes. Top the fillets with a few spoonfuls of the sauce. Enjoy!