Recipe Details

Paper Sack Catfish
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Paper Sack Catfish

This French twist on U.S. Farm-Raised Catfish is easy to make and delightful to serve to both your family and your dinner party. Recipe by Martha Foose, executive chef of the Viking Cooking School.

  • Servings: 6


2 tbsp Unsalted Butter
2 clv Garlic minced
1 tsp Sea Salt
1 tbsp Olive Oil
1 tsp Lemon Zest grated
1/3 cp Fresh Lemon Juice
6 ea U.S. Farm-Raised Catfish Fillets 6 oz each; rinsed and patted dry
1/2 tsp Freshly Ground Black Pepper
6 sprig Dill
1 ea Lemon sliced into 6 thin rounds


With nonstick cooking spray, lightly spray all over the outside of six lunch-size paper sacks. The bags should be slightly translucent after spraying.

Cut six 8-inch lengths of butcher’s twine. Set aside.

Adjust the racks in the oven, placing one in the lowest slot and one in the middle position. Preheat the oven to 350°F.

In a small saucepan over low heat, melt the butter with the garlic, salt, oil, lemon zest, and lemon juice.

Place the catfish in a single layer in a dish.

Pour the sauce evenly over the fish, and then sprinkle with the pepper.

Place one dill sprig and one lemon slice on each fillet.

Gently slide each fillet into each paper sack. Gather the mouth of the bag and give it a twist, then tie with twine.

Place three bags on a large rimmed baking sheet and the other three on another baking sheet. Bake for 10 minutes, halfway through reversing the pans.

Serve at once, placing an inflated sack on each dinner plate. For maximum effect, slice open the bags at the table.


The sacks can be assembled and refrigerated 1 hour before baking. Add 5 minutes to the baking time if the sacks are coming right out of the fridge.

For added flavor and to round out the meal, place a few blanched asparagus spears beneath the fish and a thin slice of prosciutto or country ham draped across the top of the fish in each bag before baking.

This same dish can be prepared with fennel and oranges in place of the lemon and dill.