BBQ Bonanza 2011 - Channel Catfish with Chili Coconut Glaze

photo credit: Denise Woodward

Recently I've been reading books like Mark Kurlansky's A World without Fish and Paul Greenberg's Four Fish. Both men write persuasively and eloquently about the ocean. They speak of fishing, Kurlansky with his daughter and Greenberg as a boy, and connect us to a time of innocence, now lost in the often contentious world of ocean conservation. I sometimes get sad and frankly a little frustrated when I'm attacked for bringing up the S word: sustainability.

What I want most is to get to solutions that work and systems that enable the future fishermen to take their children out for a day of snorkeling or fishing, to have their children inherit their fishing boats and to have that be a viable choice. To imagine oceans teaming with healthy fish populations and to have sane fisheries management that enables them to thrive: sometimes seems impossible. Solutions can be hard to come by. Too often, it's "us against them" thinking that takes over.


Can we just kick back, pop a cold one, and fire up the grill? Can we do it without guilt if we're grilling fish?

Yes. Yes we can.

I Love Blue Sea is a company that was borne of the same fondness for the sea and a desire to re-think how we do things. In this case, entrepreneurial thinking and personal longing for fresh, sustainable fish spurred Martin Reed to create a company to fill in the gap he saw between sustainable purveyors and conscientious cooks. Now, with a couple of clicks you can experience sparkling fresh seafood that's shipped to your door. They even take care with packaging to use soy based inks and recyclable materials where possible. Remember, our theme for BBQ Bonanza this year is Sustainability at the Grill.


When I read Martin's guest post, I thought of Kurlansky and Greenberg starting with their own innocent fishing days. When you speak with Martin (read my post Sustainable Seafood Delivered: I Love Blue Sea makes a Splash), you sense his love for the ocean. With clear vision and a reassuring smile, he makes the business of sustainable seafood seem more than possible, he makes it real.


In that same way, he takes a beautiful sustainable fish and shows us anyone can enjoy it grilled with an easy sauce. No fussy stuff here, so kick back and enjoy a guilt-free grilled fish.

Channel Catfish with Sweet Chili Coconut Glaze

Guest post: Martin Reed, founder

I fell in love with fish as a young boy when I caught my first out of the icy waters of San Francisco Bay. This love grew to include sushi, surfing and finally to the great body of water that produces these magnificent species – our ocean. The past five decades have seen catastrophic decline in ocean life as we’ve cleverly found ways to outsmart fish in a battle first waged many moons ago. Boats the size of football fields fish for months at a time in areas inaccessible just one generation ago.

So maybe you know this, and try to support sustainable seafood – but it’s not always easy is it? The NY Times recently revealed 20 - 25% of fish is mislabeled intentionally. My passion is to change that and make sustainable seafood easy transparent and convenient. With the purpose of restoring trust to fishmongers, I started i love blue sea.  Browse 120+ types of sustainable seafood online and enjoy sushi-quality fresh fish anywhere in the US. We’re a partner of Monterey Bay Aquarium’s Seafood Watch, and they just named us a ‘2011 Seafood Champion!’  OK, okay enough about us. Let’s talk catfish.


Yup, if you haven’t had domestic farm-raised catfish, hold your judgment.  Most catfish is raised in Asia and is not something I would buy either. Our Channel Catfish is raised in closed-containment ponds in Louisiana. They are primarily vegetarian so they have a favorable feed conversion ratio. This means it takes less than one pound of wild fish to create one pound of catfish. This is a net gain in protein - not something all farmed fish can claim.

I’m still pretty new to the world of gourmet cooking so I’ve been trying lots of new ingredients. Right now, I’ve been enjoying experimenting with oils. So this recipe uses three. I recently found coconut butter and sometimes sneak a spoonful before bedtime. It’s that good.

Obviously, feel free to use oils interchangeably here based on what’s in the cupboard.


Channel catfish with sweet chili coconut glaze



  • Channel Catfish Fillets - about 1/2 to 3/4 lb per person.
  • Peanut oil
  • Your choice of seasonal vegetables for the grill (how about onions, peppers, and baby eggplants? Bok Choy?)




  1. Brush fillet with peanut oil to prevent sticking to hot grill
  2. Put veggies on to grill.
  3. When veggies are about halfway done, add fish to grill.




  • Blend 2 parts coconut butter, 1 part hot water and 1 part sweet chili sauce (I like Mae Ploy).
  • Splash a streak or two of Sriracha across the plate if you want a little spice.

I devoured the dish before I thought to do this. Serve with:


Mixed summer veggies with Canadian flair


  • Buy some local, seasonal vegetables at your favorite market cut into whatever shape just feels right.
  • Toss with sesame oil and Montréal steak seasoning to taste. Olive oil also works really well.
  • Throw on the grill and flip a few times till satisfied.



Previous Guest Posts in BBQ Bonanza '11

❶ Pulled Pork Tacos - Sharon Miro

❷ Squid with Tamarind & Orange - Becky Selengut

❸ Goat Skewers with Vinegary Herb Sauce - Mark Scarbrough & Bruce Weinstein


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BBQ BONANZA '11 is sponsored by:

Click on the logo to visit their site.

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