From: Chef John Currence, City grocery, Oxford, MS.
Yield: 4 servings.
4 U.S. Farm-Raised Catfish fillets, about 6 oz. each
as needed, catfish brine (recipe follows)
8 slices wheat bread, toasted
as needed, tomato aioli (recipe follows)
8 slices thick-sliced bacon, cooked until crisp
8 thin slices ripe tomato
1 cup baby arugula, packed
Catfish Brine (yields about 3 cups):
3 cups water
1⁄2 sliced lemon
1⁄3 cup Worcestershire sauce
1⁄4 cup white wine
2 Tbsp. kosher salt
1 Tbsp. black pepper
1 Tbsp. sugar
11⁄2 tsp. dried thyme
11⁄2 tsp. red pepper flakes
Tomato Aioli (yields about 2 cups):
4 dried tomato halves
2 cups mayonnaise
2 Tbsp. lemon juice
4 tsp. olive oil
1 tsp. dried thyme
1 tsp. chopped garlic
1⁄2 tsp. grated lemon zest
1⁄4 tsp. salt
1⁄4 tsp. pepper
For brine: Combine ingredients in a large bowl.
For hickory-smoked catfish: add catfish fillets to the brine; cover and refrigerate for 3 to 4 hours. in a hot smoker, using hickory chips, follow manufacturer's instructions to smoke fillets until lightly smoked and fully cooked. Spread each toast with aioli.
For tomato aioli: pour boiling water over tomato halves; set aside to soften, about 5 minutes. drain well and finely chop. Combine tomatoes with mayonnaise and remaining ingredients.
To assemble sandwiches: place a slice of toast, aioli side up, on each of 4 plates. Layer each slice with fillet, 2 slices each of bacon and tomato. top with arugula, and cover with remaining toast. Cut sandwiches in half. Serve with chips, if desired.
Photograph: U.S. Farm Raised Catfish