Blackened Catfish Torta

Tortas are popular sandwiches (similar to panini) sold on the street in Mexico. A blackening seasoning gives the catfish a smoky, peppery bite. Be sure to coat the fish well with it.


  • 2 teaspoons dried oregano
  • 1 teaspoon ground cumin
  • 1 teaspoon kosher salt
  • 1 teaspoon smoked paprika
  • 1 teaspoon garlic powder
  • ½ teaspoon cayenne pepper
  • ½ teaspoon black pepper
  • 1 tablespoon adobo sauce (from can of chipotle peppers in adobo sauce)
  • ¼ cup mayonnaise
  • 1 lb. catfish fillets
  • 8 bolilla rolls or Kaiser rolls
  • 1 cup refried beans, warmed
  • 8 slices white onion
  • 8 slices large tomato
  • 1 cup shredded iceberg lettuce
  • 8 slices ripe avocado
  • 8 slices pickled jalapeño chiles (OPTIONAL)*
  • 8 slices Cotija or queso fresco cheese
  • Vegetable oil


  1. Mix together seasoning ingredients. Mix adobo sauce with mayonnaise.

  2. Heat oven to 400°F. Coat the fillets liberally with blackening mix.

  3. In large sauté pan over medium-high heat, heat enough vegetable oil to coat the pan. Sear fillets on one side until they start to blacken (the fish is ready to turn when it easily releases from the pan). Flip the fish; place the pan in the oven and bake fish for about 10 minutes (NOTE: If the fillets are very thin, you can skip the oven and finish cooking them on the stovetop.)

  4. To assemble each torta, spread the refried beans on one slice of bread. Top with catfish and 1 slice each of onion, tomato and avocado and some lettuce. Top with 1 slice each jalapeño chile (optional) and cheese. Spread the other slice with mayonnaise mixutre.

  5. Heat a medium sauté pan over medium-high heat; drizzle with oil. Lay a sandwich upside down in the pan; press with your hand to flatten. Place a piece of foil over the sandwich; place a heavy saucepan or skillet on the foil. When bread is nicely toasted, remove and serve.

4 servings

TIP *You can purchase pickled jalapeño chiles (jalapeños that are packed in vinegar) at Hispanic food markets or in the ethnic food section of grocery stores.

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