Catfish Étouffée

In the world I inhabit–which, quite arguably, might be yours–the more time-consuming a recipe, the more people it should feed, and this is such a one.  Soak 5 lbs. halved 6 oz. catfish fillets in milk. To a cup of good brown roux add in dice 2 cloves garlic, 2 medium onions, 1 sweet pepper and 4 stalks celery. Mix with a 36-ounce can of diced tomatoes (with juice) and 2 cups water or so; you want it a little on the thin side. Add 2 tablespoons dried basil, 1 tablespoon dried thyme, and a teaspoon of dried oregano. Put on a low burner. Drain and bread catfish in finely-crumbled saltines well-seasoned with ground black pepper, some cayenne, if you like.  Fry until golden; drain and layer fried fillets with sauce. Bake in a medium oven until just bubbling.  Serve over rice.

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