Peppercorn catfish by Num Pang

Cambodian food is all the rage especially when it's served at Num Pang in NYC.

- Cambodian food is all the rage especially when it's served at Num Pang restaurant in NYC.

(Text excerpted from NUM PANG, © 2016 by Ratha Chaupoly and Ben Daitz. Reproduced by permission of Houghton Mifflin Harcourt. All rights reserved.)

Peppercorn Catfish

Serves 4 Inspired by a sweet-and-spicy clay-pot catfish dish that Ratha’s mom makes, the peppercorn catfish num pang has surprisingly become one of Num Pang’s most popular sandwiches. Our version is pan-seared, then finished with a peppery soy-honey glaze. The catfish takes on a killer sweet-and-spicy taste that is amazing in a sandwich or simply served alongside steamed white rice with some kind of pickle to offset the sharpness of the sauce. You might have some of the peppercorn sauce leftover—it’s great drizzled over pan-seared chicken or tossed into fried rice or a stir-fry.

PEPPERCORN GLAZE 1 cup soy sauce 1/2 cup honey 1/4 cup distilled white vinegar 2 tablespoons kosher salt 1 1/2 tablespoons sugar 3 tablespoons freshly ground black pepper 1 (1-inch) piece fresh ginger, peeled and thinly sliced into matchsticks CATFISH 4 (8-ounce) catfish fillets 1 tablespoon plus 1 1/2 teaspoons freshly ground black pepper 1/2 teaspoon kosher salt 1 tablespoon canola oil 5 scallions, white and light green parts only, finely chopped

1. MAKE THE PEPPERCORN GLAZE: In a medium saucepan, combine the soy sauce, honey, vinegar, salt, and sugar. Stir to combine, then bring the mixture to a boil over medium-high heat. Reduce the heat to medium-low and simmer until the mixture has reduced by about half, 10 to 12 minutes. Stir in the pepper and ginger, cook for 30 seconds, then turn off the heat. Once it cools,
it will be about the consistency of maple syrup.

2. MAKE THE CATFISH: Season both sides of the catfish fillets with 11/2 teaspoons of the pepper and the salt. In a large nonstick skillet, heat the oil over medium-high heat. Place the catfish fillets in the skillet and cook until browned, 4 to 5 minutes. Gently turn the fillets over and cook on the other side for 2 minutes, then add 1/2 cup of the glaze. 3. Continue to cook, basting the fish with the glaze often, until the thickest part of the fillet feels firm to gentle pressure and the glaze is bubbling, 2 to 3 minutes. Sprinkle with some or all of the remaining 1 tablespoon pepper, if desired. 4. Transfer each fillet to a plate and serve with sauce drizzled over the top and sprinkled with the scallions.




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