Wild Card Weekend Food Lineup
Seahawk Salad Lettuce Wraps vs. Cajun Fried Catfish Bites
An historic NFL Wild Card weekend is upon us. For the first time in the league's history a team with a losing record has made the playoffs.
The Seattle Seahawks finished their season 7-9 but managed to win their NFC West division to advance to the postseason. To make it even worse their opponents, the defending Super Bowl Champion New Orleans Saints won a whopping 4 more games than the Hawks but still have to travel to a very rowdy Qwest Field in Seattle, one of the toughest places to play in the NFL.
So it seemed appropriate that I based this week's recipes around this game.
First, I thought of a Seahawk, that made me think of chicken—OK, chicken salad. What do I serve it on, toasted bread, crackers, by itself? I had to look no further than the uniform of a Seahawk to make my decision. At times their jersey's have neon green stripes which led me to lettuce. I'll make Seahawk Salad Lettuce Wraps, but I wasn't finished there.
I've made chicken salad in the past accompanied by an apple, carrot, walnut slaw that was devoured in record time. That fits this scheme perfect, Seattle is located in a state known for it's tasty apples. I then created Seahawk Salad Lettuce Wraps with an Apple Carrot Walnut Slaw.
Next, my mind traveled to the Big Easy for a New Orleans styled dish. I was thinking gumbo but that takes awhile or maybe a Po' Boy sandwich but I didn't want to make those for everybody. Since I left seafood off the Seattle menu I thought that I would incorporate that into my New Orleans dish, catfish is a very popular food fare in the Big Easy so my search was complete. I thought of a way to prepare catfish that the whole crew could enjoy: Cajun Fried Catfish Bites with a Saint Remoulade Sauce was then born!
Lets get cooking!
- Seahawk Salad Lettuce Wraps w/ Apple, Carrot, Walnut Slaw
For the salad you will need:
- 1 Large package of Bone-In Chicken Thighs (8-10Thighs)
- 2 Teaspoons each of Garlic & Onion Powder
- 2 Tablespoons Italian Seasoning
- Salt & Pepper
- 2 stalks of celery
- 2 Big Tablespoons Mayonnaise
- 1 Tablespoon Horseradish or Dijon Mustard
- 1 Tablespoon Sour Cream
- 1 Head of Lettuce (Romaine, Boston Bibb, or Iceberg)
Clean, rinse, and trim away any fat on chicken then pat dry. Season chicken with salt & pepper, 1 teaspoon of the garlic and onion powder, and 1 tablespoon of the italian seasoning. Place marinated chicken into baking dish and heat oven to 450 degrees. Place chicken in oven for 15-20 minutes or until skin starts to brown. Remove from oven, turn oven down to 350 degrees and cover chicken with foil. Return chicken to oven for another 20-25 minutes, take out, remove foil, and let cool.
Once chicken has cooled pull all meat off of bone and place into a bowl. Dice up your 2 stalks of celery then add celery, mayonnaise, mustard, sour cream, and remaining seasonings into bowl with chicken, mix thoroughly until all ingredients have been combined. Cover and place in fridge for at least an hour.
For the Slaw you will need:
- 1 apple (Jazz, McIntosh, or Honey Crisp)
- 1/2 cup shredded carrots
- 1/2 cup chopped walnuts
- 1 Tablespoon brown sugar
- Juice from half of a lemon
Cut apple into 4 pieces and discard the core, cut skin off of apple and slice apple into thin strips. Your thin strips of apple should look like shoestring french fries and not be much bigger than the shredded carrots. See photos. In a bowl, combine all the ingredients, cover and place into fridge for at least 1 hour.
Rinse and dry lettuce and cut off bottoms if using Romaine which is what I used for this recipe. Serve everything on a large platter so that your guests can construct their own wraps. See photos.
These wraps may leave your guests Sleepless over Seattle Seahawk Salad!
- Cajun Fried Catfish Bites w/ Saint Remoulade Sauce
For the Remoulade Sauce you will need:
- 2 Tablespoons Mayonnaise
- 1 Tablespoon Horseradish or Dijon Mustard
- 1 Tablespoon of ketchup
- 2 pickle spears
- Salt & Pepper
- 1 Teaspoon of garlic & onion powder
- 1 Teaspoon of italian seasoning
Donot let the name of this sauce intimidate you into thinking it's some complex french dipping sauce nearly impossible to make. In fact, it's almost to easy for the Big Easy!
Chop the pickle spears into tiny bits and place into a bowl. Then add remaining ingredients and mix well. Cover and place in fridge. Wow! That was easy!
If you can, make this the night before so all the ingredients can blend together.
For the fried fish you will need:
- 1 Pound of Farm Raised Catfish Fillets
- 2 Teaspoons of Old Bay Seasoning
- Fresh cracked pepper
- 2 Teaspoons each of garlic & onion powder, and italian seasoning.
- 1/2 cup of flour
- 1/4 cup of corn meal
- 1 egg
- 1/4 cup of vegetable oil
- Couple of lemon slices
Rinse and pat dry catfish fillets. Cut fillets lengthwise down the center of fillet, then cut into bite size pieces. See Photos. Then season pieces with cracked pepper and 1 teaspoon each of Old Bay, garlic & onion powder, and italian seasonings.
Place oil into large skillet and heat to medium high heat.
For your batter, combine flour, corn meal, cracked pepper and remaining seasonings. Whisk thoroughly to ensure all ingredients are mixed. Set aside.
Next, beat the egg in a bowl and place next to the batter. Place the catfish next to the egg to form a small production line, dip the catfish pieces into the egg then place into flour and toss until well coated.
Once oil is hot enough begin to place catfish on the outer edges of the pan working your way into the middle once you have gone all the way around. Your fish should start to bubble and sizzle as soon as you put them in the oil.
You can test temperature of oil with a tiny piece of fish and see what happens, if it sizzles and bubbles then oil is ready. If the piece of fish just sinks into the oil with little or no action the oil is not ready. You want that fish to be bubbling in the hot oil.
Turn fish after 2-3 minutes of frying and remove when golden brown. Place fish on a paper towel lined plate and drain excess oil. While fish are still hot sprinkle Old Bay seasoning on top of fish.
I omitted salt from this entire recipe because the Old Bay already has plenty. Place remoulade sauce in center of serving platter and arrange the fish around the dipping sauce, garnish with a couple of sliced lemons.
Will the Seahawk Salad be defeated when the Cajun Fried Catfish come marching in? Let your guests be the judge.
See you next week as the playoff's and meals intensify!
- You can save time by buying an already cooked rotisserie chicken from the store and pulling the meat off the bone. I prefer to use all dark meat but it's your preference.
- Instead of paying 2 bucks for a bag of shredded carrots I went to the grocery store salad bar and bought what I needed for the recipe and only spent 53 cents!
- If this recipe doesn't ring your appetite bell then you could always structure meal around the Philadelphia & Green Bay game. Purchase some really good cheese and make Cheesesteaks to capture the essence of those cities!