The Crown’s Catfish Allison and Black Butter Green Beans
Evelyn Roughton, owner of the The Crown Restaurant in Indianola, Mississippi, recently published a cookbook, The Crown of Southern Cooking: Recipes from the Birthplace of the Blues. In less than 10 days, the book sold nearly 6,000 copies and represents the newest edition in the “Best of the Best Cookbook Collection,” published by Quail Ridge Press. Catfish Allison and Black Butter Green Beans are two recipes that can be found in the book and on The Crown’s Delta-inspired menu.
“Claudia Ainsworth shared this recipe — named for her daughter — with us years ago, when we both entered a catfish cooking contest,” Evelyn Roughton explains in the cookbook. “Neither of us won, but Catfish Allison has become a favorite at The Crown because the sauce is so rich and good, you just have to capture every drop of it.”
6–8 U.S. farm-raised catfish fillets
1/2 tsp. salt
1/2 tsp. pepper
1 lemon, sliced
1 cup Parmesan cheese, grated
1 stick butter (no substitute), softened
6 Tbsp. mayonnaise
1/2 tsp. Worcestershire
1/2 tsp. Tabasco
6 green onions, chopped fine
Poach catfish fillets in a large skillet in lightly simmering water (enough to cover fish) with salt, pepper and lemon slices for 4–5 minutes. Gently lift fillets from water, and set aside to drain. (Fillets can be refrigerated overnight before serving.)
For the Allison Butter, place cheese, butter, mayonnaise, Worcestershire and Tabasco in a mixing bowl, and blend thoroughly. Gently stir in green onions by hand. (Can be made 2 weeks ahead and kept refrigerated. Soften a little before using.)
For individual servings, place fillets in au gratin dishes; cover with 2 tablespoons of Allison Butter. Place dishes under hot broiler, and brown deeply for more flavor. Otherwise, place fillets on a lightly buttered cookie sheet with sides. Cover each with Allison Butter and brown deeply under hot broiler. Carefully lift each fillet onto a bed of rice on each individual plate, and spoon juices over fillets. Serves 6-8.
Black Butter Green Beans
8 Tbsp. unsalted butter (no substitute)
2 Tbsp white vinegar
1/2 cup sesame seeds
1 (15-oz.) can whole green beans (The Crown uses Blue Lake)
Melt butter, and continue to cook over medium heat; watch it turn brown, then browner, then nearly black. When butter is as dark as you choose, add sesame seeds and stir for a few seconds. Do not let seeds burn. When butter has almost burned, take pan off the heat. Step back and slowly add vinegar at arm’s length; it will foam and splatter on you if you are too close, so be careful. Stir, and set aside until needed.
Heat beans in a separate saucepan. Completely drain hot beans (so the butter won’t get watered down) and stir in black butter. Serve immediately. (Unused butter can be refrigerated for several weeks.) Serves 6-8.
Recipe and photo courtesy of Quail Ridge Press.