I’m in Memphis visiting my new grandson and his parents. While I’m here, I’m doing most of the cooking, and I’m preparing some freezer-to-crockpot meals they can have after I leave.

When I went to the grocery, I saw catfish nuggets at the fish counter. We get a lot of seafood in Seattle, but catfish nuggets are never in the fish counter. Catfish isn’t as good as salmon for an anti-inflammatory diet, but it’s fish. And I love it. So I picked up a pound of catfish nuggets. Then, in the produce department, I saw purple potatoes! Score! So, for supper on Saturday night, I fixed catfish nuggets in basil cream sauce, along with roasted asparagus and purple potatoes. Sounds fancy, but it was really super, super easy.

As fast and easy as it was, though, when I got done cooking, my tiny little grandson and his mommy and daddy were all three sound asleep. I tiptoed to their bedroom door, and tapped softly, and my son-in-law sort of almost woke up. I whispered that supper was ready, and he nodded.

I waited a while, thought about tapping on their door again, then decided to eat while they slept. When they woke up, I rewarmed the food. It was just as good reheated as it had been fresh off the stove.

Catfish in Basil Cream Sauce


1 pound catfish nuggets
2 Tbsp coconut oil
1 Tbsp olive oil
2/3 cup full-fat canned coconut milk
Juice and zest from one large lemon
Large handful of fresh basil leaves, shredded


Heat the oil in a large cast iron skillet. Medium to medium-high should work. You don’t want the skillet to be too hot.

While the skillet is heating, pat the catfish nuggets dry, then sprinkle them generously with salt.

When the skillet is hot enough that a drop of water tossed in the skillet skitters and pops, add the catfish.

Cook the catfish about 3-4 minutes on a side for nuggets or thin fillets. When it’s done, remove it from the skillet to a warm plate.

Pour off most of the remaining fat and liquid from the pan.

Whisk in the coconut milk and lemon juice. Let it boil to reduce slightly.

Stir in the basil and lemon zest.

Pour the basil cream sauce over the fish.

Serve immediately.

Or serve it later. The catfish in basil cream sauce will be good either way.

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Charlotte Riggle, author of Catherine's Pascha and The Saint Nicholas Day Snow
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