Sarasota's Lite Catfish Cakes W/Mustard Sour Cream Sauce

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“Lite ... Ok, these are still pan sauteed and still have sour cream, but these are much lighter. Just a few ingredients for a nice fresh fish cake that doesn't include mayo. They are easy and quick to make which is great for a week night dinner. Or ... serve these for a small dinner party. Add some coleslaw (vinegar based) for a bit healthier slaw; and maybe a lite potato salad. A healthy take on classic recipe. These will make about 8 large cakes (depending on the size you make). You can always double the recipe if you have more guests as I normally serve 2-3 cakes per person depending on the size. You can also make them smaller and serve them as an appetizer. The sauce is also great on salmon, scallops, shrimp or any other white fish. So, if you have extra, just keep it on hand.”
8 cakes

Ingredients Nutrition

  • Sauce
  • 23 cup sour cream (I like the less fat, I'm not a fan of the NO fat, but use what you like)
  • 2 tablespoons stone ground mustard (dijon just doesn't have the same taste)
  • 1 teaspoon capers (more or less to taste)
  • 4 tablespoons parsley, fine chopped
  • pepper
  • salt, but go easy as the capers are salty
  • Cakes
  • 1 lb catfish fillet, cooked
  • 14 cup celery, very fine diced
  • 18 cup red onion, very fine diced
  • 18 cup vidalia onion, very fine diced (or any sweet onion)
  • 1 scallion, very fine chopped (white and green parts)
  • 2 large egg whites, beaten
  • 1 large egg, beaten
  • 14 cup parmesan cheese, grated
  • 1 cup panko breadcrumbs (if you use Italian bread crumbs, use the unseasoned, but panko is much better)
  • 4 tablespoons parsley
  • 12 teaspoon Old Bay Seasoning (any good seafood seasoning will work)
  • salt
  • pepper
  • olive oil to saute the vegetables, and olive oil to fry the fish cakes
  • Garnish
  • 1 lemon, cut into wedges


  1. Sauce -- Add the sour cream, mustard, capers, parsley to a small bowl and mix well. Season with salt and pepper and mix again. Cover and refrigerate until ready to serve.
  2. Catfish -- We are not seasoning the catfish at this point, I want just the true flavor of the fish to come through, so this is a very simple cooking method. The easy way - put a medium non stick pan on the stove and add about 1-2 cups water. Enough to cover about 1/4" with water on the bottom of the pan. That's it. Bring to medium heat, a nice simmer and add the catfish. You don't want it boiling and you don't want the catfish swimming in it. Just a little on the bottom that will lightly cook the fish. Simmer about 4-5 minutes per side, until the fish is firm and cooked through. Remove and cool well. Once it is cooled, lightly flake and add to a medium size bowl. Set to the side as you make the base vegetables.
  3. Base -- In that same pan, dump out the water and wipe clean. Add 1 teaspoon of the olive oil and bring to medium heat, then add in the celery, red and vidalia (or sweet onion) and cook 3-4 minutes. Then add in the scallions, a little salt and pepper. Not too much, you will re-season again. Cook another 4-5 minutes until all the vegetables are tender. Remove from the heat and let it cool.
  4. Cakes -- In a measuring cup or small bowl, add the egg whites and whole egg and whisk well. Then add the panko crumbs, parmesan, Old Bay or seafood seasoning, and parsley to the catfish and toss lightly. Next - add in the egg mixture and mix well. But just mix to combine, don't over mix.
  5. Time to make the cakes. Take a heaping tablespoon or two and press to form a nice patty. Make them any size you want, but remember, the fish and vegetables are cooked, so you are just heating them up and browning them. Just don't make them too thin about 1/2" or a bit thicker; you should get around 8 patties. Transfer to a cookie sheet lined with parchment or foil and put in the freezer. We aren't freezing them, just chilling them. They are easier to fry when they are firmed up a bit. Chill about 15-30 minutes.
  6. Saute -- Heat a good 5 or 6 tablespoons of oil in the bottom of a NON stick pan. You just want to have about 1/4" in the bottom of the pan. Heat to medium high - high heat; not too hot, you don't want them to burn, but you want them to brown up and not soak up the oil. Add the cakes when the oil is nice and hot and cook 3-4 minutes per side until golden brown. Once they are brown on each side, remove to a plate lined with a paper towel to absorb any extra grease.
  7. Serve -- And, as I mentioned, I prefer to serve this with a "No Mayo" coleslaw and maybe some butter parsley new potatoes or a light potato salad. Two to three cakes per person, depending on the size; and finish with a dollop of the mustard sour cream sauce. And don't forget a squeeze of fresh lemon. ENJOY!

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