Let’s start the New Year on a healthy note. Here’s a tasty way to prepare and serve fish fillets. The fish fillets are topped with an almond crust and baked, then served over a bed of savoy cabbage, onions and dried fruit along with a tangy mustard sauce. The fish fillet with crunchy topping simply melts in your mouth! This is an easy way to live a heart healthy diet. With all of our fried food served in Louisiana, the recipe is a welcome change.
The recipe is adapted from a German cookbook featuring cuisine from the Northern regions of the country. Knowing how much I like to cook, my son and his wife gave me the German cookbook for a birthday present with the promise of translating any of the recipes. The cookbook title means, “North German Home Kitchen: The Best Recipes from Ostfriesland to Rugen.” It made an interesting way for me to learn about the cuisine from other parts of the world — and involve my son who also loves to cook.
The North Sea Beach at Cuxhaven, Germany
I especially like the cover of the cookbook. The little beach huts are exactly like the ones we saw when we visited the North Sea at Cuxhaven, Germany. At low tide, the North Sea reseeds for about nine miles exposing the floor of the ocean. A person can walk out for miles on the mudflats (or the tidal flats) of the North Sea. You can go with a guide — either walking or in horse-drawn wagons to the distant island of Neuwerk. Look closely — the little figures are actually people returning from the island during the four hours of low tide. They are walking across the floor of the ocean which will soon be covered with water.
Back to the recipe. I cannot read the German text, so I browsed through the cookbook and chose a recipe and accompanying photo which looked interesting. Translated it means, “Almond Crusted Turbot with Mustard Sauce.” The fish is served on a bed of savoy cabbage and dried fruit along with a tangy mustard sauce.
Adapting the recipe for Louisiana
I am living in southern Louisiana, not Germany, so I adapted the recipe for our local ingredients. The recipe calls for turbot fish fillets. Hum, we don’t have this type of fish available in Louisiana. Turbot is a firm, white fish. Halibut and sole are generally considered as substitutes for turbot. Since turbot is a flounder species, I’m guessing that flounder fillets — caught in the Gulf of Mexico — could also be used. Here in Louisiana, catfish is a common fish — available either fresh or frozen — so I’m substituting this fish in my recipe.
This recipe is different from our typical local seafood dishes. The fish fillets are served over a bed of savoy cabbage and dried fruit. The cabbage and raisins add nutritional value and made a tasty presentation. For the dried fruit, you could add dried apricots and prunes along with the raisins. For the savoy cabbage — I am substituting Chinese cabbage which grows in my garden in the wintertime. This cabbage has a peppery flavor and is similar in appearance to savoy cabbage — perhaps slightly stronger in taste. Finally, this recipe is a good use for my crop of winter cabbage.
To make the recipe
To prepared the recipe, I blended together chopped almonds, margarine and seasoned bread crumbs. I’ve made this recipe several times — sometimes using slivered almonds and sometimes chopped almonds. Season the fillets with salt and pepper — and for a Louisiana touch, I sprinkled on Cajun Tony Chachere’s seasoning. Then top the fish with the almond crust and bake in a 350 degree oven until tender — the time will depend on the type and size of fish fillets.
To prepared the rest of the dish, saute chopped Chinese (or savoy) cabbage and dried fruit — I used raisins — in margarine until the cabbage begins to wilt. Add chicken broth, season with salt and sugar, and simmer until the liquid evaporates. (Didn’t read carefully — added the onions here.)
For the sauce: sauce onion in margarine or butter until translucent, blend in hot mustard and cream (I used whole milk) and boil. Season with salt and a “pinch” of sugar. Puree in blender and add fresh dill. Spicy, hot mustard really makes a tangy sauce and I loved it when served with the fish fillets.
Lets start the new year on a healthy note, this baked fish recipe is a winner! Can’t wait to try additional German recipes adapted from this cookbook.
Almond Crusted Catfish with Mustard Sauce
Ingredients for the Fish Fillets:
- 1-3/4 lb of firm white fish fillets such as catfish, flounder, halibut or turbot
- Creole seasoning such as Tony Cachere’s Creole Seasoning or seafood seasoning such as Old Bay Seasoning (optional)
- 4 oz chopped almonds (or slivered almonds)
- 2 tbsp soft margarine or butter
- 1/2 cup seasoned bread crumbs
Ingredients for the Savoy:
- 1/2 head of savoy cabbage or Chinese cabbage
- 2 oz dried fruit (a combination of raisins, dried apricots, prunes)
- 2 Tbsp margarine or butter
- 1/4 cup chicken broth
- 1 pinch sugar
Ingredients for the Mustard Sauce:
- 1 large onion
- 2 Tbsp margarine or butter
- 4 Tbsp medium hot mustard
- 1 cup (8 oz) cream (I used whole milk)
- 1 pinch sugar
- 1 Tbsp freshly chopped dill
Method and Steps for Fish:
- Butter the baking dish. Pre-heat oven to 350 degrees.
- Wash the fish fillets, dry with a paper towel. Season the fillets with salt and, optional creole seasoning (such as Tony Chachere’s). Place fish in baking pan.
- Knead the almonds with the soft butter and the breadcrumbs and coat the top of the fish fillets.
- Bake the fish in the oven for about 20 minutes until the crust is golden brown and the fish fillets are cooked through. Cooking times may vary with type of fish.
- Remove from oven and tent with foil to keep warm.
Method and Steps for the Savoy:
- Wash the savoy cabbage (or Chinese cabbage), take out bad leaves and remove and cut the leaves in fine strips.
- Dice the dried fruits.
- Melt the margarine or butter in a large pot and stir fry the cabbage a few minutes until it begins to wilt.
- Add the chicken broth and dried fruits.
- Add the salt and sugar and cook, uncovered, until the fluid is gone.
Method and Steps for the Mustard Sauce:
- Dice the onion.
- Melt margarine or butter in a pot and saute onions until they are translucent.
- Add mustard and cream and boil.
- Add salt and sugar and cook at low heat for 12 minutes
- Puree the sauce and add dill.
To serve, place ladle mustard sauce on plate, add sauteed savoy and top with fish fillet.