Poached Danube Catfish

This recipe was developed for the Donauwaller, or Danube River catfish, a staple of the European diet for thousands of years. Interestingly enough, the word waller seems to come from a common root with the word whale; these animals routinely grow to four or five feet in length and are highly prized by both sportsmen and epicures. Not surprisingly, the Danube catfish is deeply embedded in the culture and in fact is the stuff of legend.

Catfish have a distinctive taste: moist, sweet and mild with firm flesh that has less flaking than other whitefish. Our recipe calls for poaching the fish, which helps preserve its moisture and delicate flavor and keeps the dish light and healthy. Once your ingredients are prepped, the dish takes very little time to cook.


  • 2 qt water
  • 2 tsp salt
  • 6 whole peppercorns
  • 3 juniper berries*
  • 3 whole bay leaves
  • 2 C dry white wine
  • 1 leek, cut into julienne strips
  • 2 med carrots, cut into julienne strips
  • 1 med parsnip, cut into julienne strips
  • 1/2 onion, cut into julienne strips
  • 4 lb filleted catfish, portioned into 8 pieces
  • 4 potatoes, boiled


  • Parsley, finely chopped
  • Freshly grated horseradish


In a large saucepan heat water, salt, peppercorn, juniper, bay leaf and white wine. Simmer for 10 minutes on low heat. Add the julienned vegetables and continue simmering for 6 more minutes. Add fish to pan and simmer for another 7 minutes. Serve with boiled potatoes and garnish with chopped parsley and grated horseradish.

*These come dried in the spice department, or you can substitute 1 1/2 tsp of gin.

  • Cook time: 17 minutes
  • Makes 4 servings.