Basa is a variety of catfish from Southeast Asia that was renamed due to pressure from the U.S. catfish board when it became too much of a competitor for the catfish market. However, according to Wikipedia, blind taste tests have proved that Americans prefer basa’s flavor to that of American catfish three to one. Here’s a recipe I came up with that I feel does this noble fish justice.
Basa fillets (One per person)
Herb Butter (for 4):
¼ cup unsalted butter
¼ tsp. salt
¼ tsp. onion powder
1 tsp. tarragon
½ tsp. basil
1 tsp. minced garlic
¼ tsp. black pepper
6-8 stalks of asparagus per person
First, prepare the herb butter. Let the butter soften at room temperature for 5-10 minutes, then smash it up with a fork in a sealable container like a Tupperware. Add the garlic and seasonings and combine until the ingredients are evenly dispersed. Seal the container and store in the refrigerator.
Place basa fillets in a resealable plastic bag or on a plate and sprinkle with salt, pepper, and lemon pepper on both sides. Drizzle both sides with olive oil, then seal and store in the refrigerator for at least 20 minutes.
Preheat the oven to 400 degrees. Wash the asparagus and trim off the bottom edges. Lay them on a pan and sprinkle with salt, pepper, and minced garlic. Drizzle with olive oil, then put them in the oven for 15 minutes.
While the asparagus is cooking, heat up your electric grill or heat up a stovetop grill pan. If you don’t have one of those, a standard frying pan will work just as well. Grill the basa fillets for four to five minutes in a double-sided grill, or two to three minutes per side on a single-sided cooking surface.
Plate the cooked asparagus and basa fillets, then top each fillet with a generous spoonful of the chilled herb butter. Serve immediately.