Sauteed Catfish Fillets with Pecan Butter Sauce

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all-purpose flour seasoned with salt and pepper for dredging the fish

1 large egg

3 tablespoons water

six 6- to 8-ounce catfish fillets

about 1/3 cup vegetable oil for sautéing the fish

1/4 cup minced onion

1 garlic clove, minced

3/4 stick (6 tablespoons) unsalted butter

1/2 cup pecans, toasted lightly and chopped fine

1 tablespoon fresh lemon juice plus 6 lemon wedges for garnish

Tabasco to taste

Have ready in separate shallow dishes the flour, and the egg beaten with the water. Dredge each catfish fillet in the flour, shaking off the excess, dip it in the egg mixture, letting the excess drip off, and dredge it in the flour again, shaking off the excess. Transfer the fish as it is coated to a wax paper-lined baking sheet. In a large skillet heat 2 tablespoons of the oil over moderately high heat until it is hot but not smoking and in it sauté the fish in batches, adding the remaining oil as necessary, for 2 to 3 minutes on each side, or until it just flakes. Transfer the fish to paper towels to drain and keep it warm, covered.

In a skillet cook the onion and the garlic in the butter over moderately low heat, stirring, until they are softened, add the pecans, and cook the mixture over moderately high heat, swirling the skillet, until the butter is browned and the pecans are toasted well. Stir in the lemon juice, the Tabasco, and salt and pepper to taste. Divide the fish among 6 heated plates, spoon the butter sauce over it, and garnish each serving with a lemon wedge.

Serves 6.
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