Blue Apron Subscription Box Review: Crispy Catfish & Cracked Freekeh

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Welcome back to our review of Blue Apron! If you want to know more about Blue Apron in general, click on over to the Blue Apron Unboxing and Pricing post to get the scoop.

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Next up on the menu was the Crispy Catfish & Cracked Freekeh with Kumquat, Thai Basil & Chili Glaze. Catfish is a southern staple so I was very excited to try this Asian twist on something I grew up eating. The dish also used some unique ingredients such as kumquats and cracked freekeh that we’ve never used before so Selma and I were pumped!

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If you want to make this at home yourself, here’s what you’ll need.

  • 2 Catfish Fillets
  • ½ Cup Cracked Freekeh
  • 3 Cloves Garlic
  • 2 Ounces Kumquats
  • 1 Bunch Collard Greens
  • 1 Large Bunch Thai Basil
  • 2 Tablespoons Sugar
  • 2 Tablespoons Instant Flour
  • 1 Bird’s Eye Chile
  • 1 Tablespoon Rice Vinegar

Makes 2 servings.

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Step 1: Time to get your freekeh on (see what I did there?!). Heat a pot of salted water to boiling. Once boiling, add the freekeh and cook for 20 – 22 minutes, or until tender. Drain thoroughly and return to the pot. It should have a similar texture and consistency to steel cut oats. Slightly chewy but not super mushy.

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Step 2: Prep your ingredients. Roughly chop your collard greens, slice your kumquats and garlic, halve your thai chili and pluck the basil leaves off the stem. Note: If you don’t want the dish to be too spicy, only take off the top of the chili; do not halve.

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Step 3: In a large skillet, heat 2 teaspoons of oil on medium-high until hot. Add the garlic and cook, stirring frequently, for 1 – 2 minutes, or they begin to brown and crisp up. Add the collard greens and 2 tablespoons of water; season with salt and pepper. Cook for 2-3 minutes, stirring occasionally, until the greens are wilted. Transfer everything to the pot of cooked freekeh and wipe out the skillet.

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Step 4: Pat the catfish fillets dry with paper towels and season with salt and pepper on both sides. Place the flour onto a large plate and coat only one side of each seasoned fillet in the flour. For a crispier filet, coat both sides of the catfish. Be sure to shake off any excess flour. In the same skillet used to cook the collard greens, heat a thin layer of oil until it begins to smoke.

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Add the fillets, coated side down first. Cook 2 – 3 minutes per side, or until golden brown and crispy. Transfer to a paper towel-lined plate and set aside in a warm place. Carefully drain off and discard the oil, leaving any browned bits (or fond) in the pan.

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Step 5: Heat the skillet of reserved fond on medium heat until hot. Add ¼ cup of water and stir in the kumquats, bird’s eye chile, sugar, vinegar and half the basil. Cook for 3 to 5 minutes, stirring occasionally, or until the glaze begins to thicken. You should have a slightly thick caramel-like sauce. Remove from heat and discard the chile. Season with salt and pepper to taste.

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Step 6: If needed, add a drizzle of olive oil into the pot of cooked collard greens and freekeh; stir to combine and season with salt and pepper to taste. Divide the freekeh between two plates and top with the catfish filet. Add a few spoonfuls of the glaze over the catfish and garnish with the remaining basil.

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The verdict: This was certainly an interesting take on catfish. The catfish was crispy and flaky and the collard greens works beautifully with the freekeh. The sweet and sour glaze in the end was a bit too sweet for our tastes but that could easily be fixed by adding less sugar. All in all, this was a solid dish that’s not only simple to make, but is also low-cal!

As with all of these types of subscription services, a portion of the end result depends on the preparation and execution of the dish by non-professional chefs. But after all is said and done, I think we did a pretty good job following the directions outlined in the recipe card. Some of the cooking times may be off by a few minutes but if you stick with the recipe suggestions and use a little common sense, you should be in the clear. Also, some of the ingredient measurements may have been modified so you can follow along at home (i.e. 1 packet = ~1 tbsp).

And with that, thanks for reading and stay tuned for more Blue Apron meals to come!

If you also received this dish from Blue Apron, I’d love to know your thoughts on it as well! Simply leave a comment below.

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