As I’ve stated many times in the past, my favorite aspect of cooking is simply coming up with a recipe based on what’s available. Last night I found some catfish fillets in the freezer and pulled them out to defrost. I had also seen an interesting recipe for roasted carrots with sugar and chocolate balsamic vinegar in the December, 2013 Delicious! magazine which appealed.

To be honest, the roasted carrots called for apple balsamic vinegar which I had zero hope of finding so I replaced it with chocolate balsamic vinegar and regular table sugar. The result was…adequate; tasty enough but nothing to blog about–yet here we are. At least now you know how the menu might work.

For the catfish fillets, most of the online recipes I found were southern-fried and had these fillets stuffed with bacon. I decided to use the last couple of pieces of bacon in my fridge for this, so I cut them into lardons (if that is the correct term–small little rasher-wide pieces about a quarter-inch wide) and fried them…mostly to render their fat for a base to cook the catfish fillets.

I seasoned the catfish with salt and pepper after drying them, then added them to the skillet for a quick fry, approximately 4 minutes for one side and a minute less for the other. I added some duck fat as the rendered bacon fat was inadequate in volume. I splashed a bit of wine and lemon juice over the fillets during their second half of cooking and spooned the resulting ‘broth’ over them, as well. I took the cooked bacon bits and garnished the fillets with them. Just then the roasted carrots were ready and we sat down to dinner with a bottle of prosecco.

As dinners went, it wasn’t absolutely memorable, and truth be told, my wife was wholly distracted by her laptop before and after dinner as she was transferring her blog from one domain to another. She didn’t apply much attention to the meal, and I don’t blame her–nothing about it ‘soared’, though as I said, it was adequate if not completely memorable.

I might show you a couple of empty plates or…wait: here’s the leftovers my wife may take to work tomorrow. I embellished my own fillet with piment d’espelette, a mildly spicy Basque condiment that is found in stores where people are willing to spend $14.95 for odd, foreign spices. It is really rather nice, and some chefs who travel a lot and carry spices with them often admit to carrying this with them.