Gluten-Free Pan Fried Catfish

Gluten-Free Pan Fried Catfish
Golden pan fried catfish fillet with crisp baby greens and brown rice.

Life's a Beach

One of the juicy, inspiring gifts of an empty nest is the big sky freedom to pull up roots and wander. And long time readers know- we have been doing just that. Wandering our hearts out. We are gypsies. Moving six seven eight times since selling our family home on Cape Cod seven years ago, migrating West through Santa Fe, then various neighborhoods in Los Angeles county. Most recently, landing back East, in a rustic old barn one mile away from my childhood home in Connecticut. With each and every move we sold off or donated the outworn- from bookcases to boots. Trying on new digs and studios along the way, from loft style apartments to an antique carriage house.

After this beast of a winter here in the Northeast- I am once again longing to call a sun-warmed beach my home. Craving the rhythmic crash of the waves. Dreaming of open windows and simple rooms swept with sea glass tinted sunlight and salt air. Shaking out pillows and bedding that smell like surf.

{Listen to my son's music as you read this post- a song from his new album Science of Noise::

We just got back from a short week in Southern California. I walked Ocean Beach, and Coronado, and one of my favorites- Torrey Pines Beach. A handful of perfect days. No frills. No expensive meals or excursions. Just picnic style food, conversation, and walks. Mapping out the next move, exploring possibilities. Our lease here is up soon. And we need to move on.

So here's what I know.

My sons live in California.

My heart beats softer near the ocean.

A big (BIG) birthday fast approaches. The kind of birthday that causes one to blink- and consider new choices very, very carefully.

I need to live somewhere I can cup my hands and carve the space to imagine new things.

The journey to here was a twisting road. We were more than once disappointed, looking for tiny clues swept clean by the hot desert winds of New Mexico, clues that teased and preceded us and left the enchanted landscape unforgiving, heavy with the scents of sunlit juniper and sage. We've been told (by those who know such things) that the high desert draws you in with a force, a power that triggers dreams- not the angel-sugared bedtime dreams of lullabies, but the tough stuff. The unconscious. The unknown Self. The shadow. And that if you falter, if you brace yourself with old defenses and cling to the familiar, she spits you out. And sends you packing (in my case, with three titanium screws drilled into a broken hip).

Did the desert spit us out, or did I simply dream a different dream?

Today it does not matter.

Because this I also know.

I have begun each day curious. I have listened. And walked. And stared at the horizon. I have read stacks of books. I have painted. And I have cooked. I have kissed and I have cried.

And through it all I missed the sea more than I ever could have imagined. My love for her is a daughter's love, her maternal pull is deep and tidal.

So here we are. Miles later. Travelers, both of us. Once again packing boxes. One more time wondering if new rooms will fit us. If unfamiliar walls will shelter us. If this next dream is the destination we seek- or one more step of the journey.

Right now my heart is full.

And some ghostly fist inside me has unclenched.

I stared at the waves for hours this week. I walked in the sand. I have decided to live near the beach again. My old dream come true.

All I need is a studio.

But as a wise soul once said, be careful what you wish for.

You just might get it.

Pan fried catfish that is gluten free and dairy free delicious
Gluten-free golden fried catfish fillet- tender and tasty.


Gluten-Free Pan Fried Catfish Recipe with Brown Rice and Baby Greens

Recipe posted by Karina Allrich May 2011.

One of my favorite simple dinners is pan fried catfish. So flavorful. The texture is lovely- flaky, and tender. Here I've made a crumb style coating with three gluten-free flours. The combo of almond meal, coconut flour and brown rice flour creates a light and delicate coating that fries to a crispy golden brown.


4 (6 to 8-ounce) skinless catfish fillets
1 beaten organic free range egg
1/2 cup almond meal
1/4 cup coconut flour
1/4 cup brown rice flour
1 teaspoon smoked paprika
1 teaspoon dried dill
1 teaspoon dried oregano or parsley
1 teaspoon dried minced garlic
1 teaspoon sea salt
1/3 cup light olive oil or vegetable oil, for frying
Lime wedges, for serving
Fresh herb salad greens, for serving
Hot cooked brown rice, seasoned with olive oil and sea salt, for serving


Line a baking sheet with a piece of parchment paper, and place it in a warm oven.

Rinse the catfish fillets briefly in cool water and pat dry.

Place the fillets in a shallow baking dish, in a single layer. Pour the beaten egg mixture over the catfish, and make sure each fillet is evenly coated on both sides. Set aside.

In separate shallow dish, whisk together the almond meal, coconut flour, brown rice flour, smoked paprika, dill, oregano, garlic, and sea salt.

Working with one fillet at a time, remove it from the egg mixture and dredge it in the gluten-free flour mixture to coat both sides. Transfer the coated fillet to a clean plate. Repeat for the remaining fillets.

Heat the light olive oil in a large skillet over medium heat. When the oil is hot, carefully add two fillets to the skillet, and fry until the underside is golden and crisp, roughly 4 minutes. Using a thin, flexible spatula, gently turn the fillet over and continue cooking until it is crispy golden brown on the second side, about 3 to 4 minutes more.

Carefully transfer the cooked fillets to a parchment lined baking sheet in a warm oven. Repeat the process with remaining fillets.

Serve the catfish with a crisp, fresh herb salad and hot cooked brown rice. Garnish with fresh lime wedges and snips of fresh dill.

Cook time: 8 min for the catfish

Yield: Serves 4

Recipe Source:

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xox Karina


  1. On a personal note, do you think the ocean in CA has more of a pull for you than the ocean on Cape Cod? If yes, why??

  2. Anonymous16:48

    I thought you were vegan Karina, disappointed that you are no longer.

    1. Anonymous12:16

      You know everyone is entitled to their opinion but that is a big judgement. I hope others are kinder to you when you are judged by someone you have "disappointed."

  3. ginger18:37

    Hey Anonymous, you try being vegan with all Karina's food allergies. She makes the most amazingly delicious food that doesn't make you sick and I'm so glad she puts it out there on the internet for us too. A little less of the "disappointed" holier-than-thou attitude will do you good.

  4. Beautiful post and recipe - I'll have to try this! I made several recipes from the archives over Memorial Day weekend (a quinoa salad; lime chicken tacos- yum!) and they were both wonderful. Thank you.

    And I am so happy that you've found a new place to call home! Hope it has most everything (at least) on your wish-list...

  5. Anonymous23:46

    I am a vegan with many food allergies. I am not being holier than thou, I just thought Karina had said she was vegan and am disappointed to find she is no longer. I love her vegan recipes but surely I can voice an opinion without being attacked!

  6. Anonymous00:21

    Love your recipes as well, but I too thought you were vegan. I hope you continue to create vegan recipes that all of us can enjoy.

  7. Steph04:34

    Hi Karina,

    Thank you for the lovely post. You are a bit of a kindred spirit that I can so relate to. I identify with your bone issues - as I'm fighting accelerating Osteopenia at 34 (with a frightening bone fracture last year) - and struggles with a barage of food allergies that mingle with the Celiac diagnosis - and I also struggle with the "ghostly fist" as you so aptly put it (resulting in trips to the hospital as well). I'm still a desert dweller in AZ - and you've given me hope that the fist inside of me will unclench at some point on this journey. I wish you all the best.

  8. What a very lovely recipe, the nut meal is a great addition. I'm glad you found your place to just 'be', even if it's just for now.

  9. What a beautiful post Karina and you couldn't be more correct about the New Mexico High Desert (I live between Albuquerque and Santa Fe):

    "the high desert draws you in with a force, a power that triggers dreams"

    The catfish looks delectable, as do all of your recipes!

  10. What a beautiful post. I am so happy you are so at peace :)

  11. Oooo we dont eat seafood but I think I will try this with chicken cutlets! Thanks!

    1. Technically catfish is not seafood. It is a freshwater fish (as is rainbow trout, bass) not from the sea. USA farm-raised catfish is said to be healthier than wild-caught catfish, and no worries about over-fishing, antibiotics, pollution, mercury or Fukashima radiation. Standards for farm-raised catfish are said to be very strict.

  12. Gorgeously written post as always, Karina. I feel the same way about the ocean too, being from Vancouver. I've tried living away from it, and wound up feeling a little claustrophobic. I'm trying to cut myself off of fish, but this recipe actually has my mouth watering!

  13. Such a beautiful napkin :)

  14. I'm so glad you are back with the ocean. There is nothing as soothing (or as exciting) as the sound of the sea - and the smell.... oh my!
    And the fish looks really good!

  15. Anonymous17:40

    I continue to admire your artistry with a camera. It is really difficult to take great photos of food, but you do it day after day. Beautiful.


  16. And now my mouth is watering. I should know better than to read your blog before lunchtime.

  17. Hi! I just wanted to let you know that I've given you the 'irresistibly sweet' award. You can find it on my blog :)

  18. I love your way with words, Karina. And food. And photography. Will you post some of your paintings too? We would love to see them.

    And this is completely off subject, but could you give us a GF and vegan recipe for dessert sopapillas? It's been two years since I've had one and they were oh so delicious. Mmm, I can just see the honey dripping off my chin right now... :)

  19. Do you have any recommendations on how to do this egg-free? thanks!

  20. Karina; your recipes are food for the body...your words are food for the soul; so beautiful. Thank you.

  21. Karina; your recipes are food for the body...your words are food for the soul; so beautiful. Thank you. xo

  22. Great recipe! I modified it slightly due to what was available: lemon pepper instead of dill and oregano, walleye instead of catfish. We live in the Land of 10,000 *frozen* Lakes (Minnesota) so our fish came through a one foot hole in the ice...hence a similar yearning for open water.

  23. looks delicious. where can i found coconut flour and brown rice flour?

  24. Another amazing post, my dear Karina! I love that you are right on the ocean now and that it gives you sustenance and breathes new, vital life into you. :-)

    I also love this catfish recipe. We have an informal barter system with one of my hubby's high school buddies. He gives us catfish and we give him venison and honey. I usually use a simple cornmeal/rice flour mix to fry the catfish in and it turns out very good, but I will definitely be trying your recipe next. Your catfish looks crispy, yet "melt in our mouth" like. :-)


  25. Beautifully written, Karina. What a great place to be in your life. Thank you for sharing your little slice of heaven with us, I could almost smell the ocean and feel the breeze.


  26. Anonymous19:32

    Dear Gluten Free Goddess,
    I have just recently discovered your site. Thank you. Your story (whichi speaks to my inner gypsie) is inspiring. And your catfish, De-Lisch!

  27. Technically catfish is not seafood: it is a freshwater fish like rainbow trout, bass etc. It does not live in saltwater or the ocean. The nice thing about USA farm-raised catfish (beware imported catfish especially Vietnam) is that standards are very strict, they don't use antibiotics like farm-raised Salmon, they can't be over-fished, they contain no pollutants or mercury, and there is no danger from Fukashima radiation.

  28. YUM! Definitely adding this to my cue. Thank you!

  29. Katrina,
    Your son"s music? Loved it! When I went gf this past year, your was the first, and only site I follow. I love everything about it, but your blog inspires me. Appreciate all your effort. Plan to make your coconut layer cake for Easter, and as a gift to celebrate our grandmother's 91st birthday. Prayers and blessing to you on your adventure called life. Joanna

  30. This looks delicious and I personally cannot wait to try this! I've long followed your adventures in cooking and travels (since your desert days - this native New Mexican smiles every time chile finds its way into one of your recipes), and I wish you only the best on this latest chapter of your life. Looking forward to hearing all about it. =)


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Karina - Gluten-Free Goddess xox