Grilled Catfish with Beurre Blanc and Maque Choux

Flaky, flame-kissed catfish is the ideal canvas for creamy Cajun corn and a classic French butter sauce.

  • Serves


  • Cook

    50 minutes


By David Guas

Published on March 28, 2024

When the blue catfish was introduced to the Chesapeake Bay watershed in the 1970s, recreational fishermen were thrilled, but the species has become a major threat to indigenous aquatic populations, especially the region’s prized blue crabs. Louisiana-born chef David Guas, a longtime advocate for sustainable seafood, grills catfish at his Beltway restaurant Bayou Bakery. “They are deliciously mild, flaky, and rich with healthy omega-3 fatty acids,” he says. Guas pairs the fish with creamy maque choux—a traditional Cajun corn-and-pepper side dish—and a silky beurre blanc sauce.

Featured in “Fish Friday Around the World” by Shane Mitchell.


For the maque choux:

  • 4 ears fresh corn, shucked
  • 1 Tbsp. plus 1 tsp. vegetable oil
  • Kosher salt and freshly ground black pepper
  • 2 garlic cloves, finely chopped (1 tsp.)
  • 1 celery rib, finely chopped (1 Tbsp.)
  • ¼ red bell pepper, finely chopped (1 Tbsp.)
  • ¼ onion, finely chopped (2 Tbsp.)
  • ¾ cup heavy cream
  • 1 scallion, finely chopped (2 tsp.)
  • ½ small tomato, finely chopped (2 Tbsp.)
  • Cayenne pepper
  • 2 pieces pickled okra, thinly sliced

For the beurre blanc:

  • 1 cup dry white wine
  • 1 Tbsp. whole black peppercorns
  • 1 lemon, thinly sliced
  • 1 small shallot, finely chopped (2 Tbsp.)
  • 32 Tbsp. unsalted butter, cut into ½-in. pieces
  • ½ tsp. kosher salt

For the catfish:

  • 3 lb. catfish fillets
  • ¼ cup olive oil
  • Kosher salt and freshly ground black pepper


Step 1

Make the maque choux: Rub the corn with 1 tablespoon of oil and season to taste with salt and black pepper. Heat a grill or grill pan over high heat. Once hot, add the corn and cook, turning occasionally, until deepened in color and lightly charred, about 8 minutes. Using a serrated knife, cut the corn kernels off the cobs and set aside.

Step 2

To a large pan over medium-high heat, add the remaining oil. When the oil is hot and shimmering, add the garlic, celery, bell pepper, onion, and reserved corn, and cook until the onion is translucent, 7–8 minutes. Add the cream, scallion, and tomato, and continue cooking until the cream is slightly reduced, about 10 minutes. Season to taste with cayennesalt, black pepper, and. Add the okra and remove from the heat.

Step 3

Make the beurre blanc: To a small pot over medium heat, add the wine, peppercorns, lemon, and shallot. Simmer until reduced by one-third, about 5 minutes. Whisking vigorously, add the butter one piece at a time until it has all been incorporated into the sauce. Remove from the heat and strain through a fine-mesh sieve. Keep warm. 

Step 4

Cook the catfish: Brush the fish with oil and season to taste with salt and black pepper. Heat the grill or grill pan over high heat. Once hot, add the fish and cook, turning once, until the flesh is firm and opaque, about 8–11 minutes. 

Step 5

Divide the fish and maque choux evenly among plates, top each with the beurre blanc, and serve immediately.

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