Daydreams of finger-licking, crispy-crunchy fried bliss are evoked by the phrase “fried catfish.” With its savory crust giving way to flaky, delicate fish, the prospect of that first taste makes my mouth swim. Nothing compares to freshly squeezed lemon over deep-fried seafood with gallons of tartar sauce.
Catfish is a well-liked protein low in calories and fat in the South. A clean, sustainable supply of Omega-3 fatty acids is farmed catfish. The majority of the health advantages of fish are still present even though frying it isn’t the healthiest option (and a delicious meal).
Catfish were widely available and plentiful in the Antebellum South, but because they were considered “bottom feeders,” they weren’t seen as the most fashionable dinner options. Mild-flavored catfish, formerly a seafood trade secret of the South, is now widely consumed across the country. Before frying, soak the catfish in milk for an hour to eliminate any lingering fishy flavor. The cornmeal crust produces the ideal amount of lightness and crispiness.
Catfish Nutrition Facts
What is Exactly Catfish?
One of the oldest and most common fish species is the catfish. Except for a few locations with high temperatures, catfish adapt to their surroundings so effectively that they flourish everywhere. This fish is frequently available in grocery stores and on restaurant menus, so it makes sense to question if it’s healthful.
Catfish is high in lean protein, good fats, vitamins, and minerals but low in calories.Omega-3 fats, which are suitable for the heart, and vitamin B12 are particularly abundant. Although deep frying adds far more calories and fat than dry heat cooking techniques like baking or broiling, it may be a healthful addition to any meal. Catfish is a great seafood option to add to your diet if you want to consume more of it.
How to Make Fried Catfish?
Here is the best cooking method to make fried catfish:
- Six catfish fillets, 6 ounces each
- 1 cup buttermilk
- 1 cup cornmeal, preferably yellow
- 1 cup all-purpose flour
- Two teaspoons of table salt
- One teaspoon of ground paprika
- One teaspoon of cayenne pepper
- 1/2 teaspoon garlic powder
- 1 cup vegetable oil for frying
Steps to Follow
- Gather the ingredients.
- Preheat the oven to 200 F. Line a rimmed baking sheet with foil and place a rack in the pan.
- Arrange the catfish in a wide, shallow bowl or pie plate. Pour the buttermilk over the fish.
- Combine the cornmeal, flour, salt, paprika, cayenne, and garlic powder on a pie plate.
- Take the fish out of the buttermilk and dredge the fish fillets in the flour mixture to coat thoroughly. Shake off excess flour mixture.
- Heat 1 inch of oil in a deep, heavy skillet or Dutch oven over high heat.
- The oil must be 350 F. Use a candy thermometer or drop a pinch of the flour mixture into the oil—if it bubbles and floats, the oil is ready. Just be mindful of maintaining the oil temperature while cooking the fish, and don’t overcrowd the pan, as doing so will lower the oil temperature.
- Carefully place 2 to 3 fillets in the pan.
- Cook for about 5 to 6 minutes, or until golden brown. If the oil isn’t deep enough to cover the fish, turn the fillets carefully after about 3 minutes.
- Remove the fish to the rack in the baking pan and place it in the oven while you cook another batch. Repeat until all of the fish fillets are cooked. Serve hot with your favorite sides.
What does Catfish Taste Like?
There are two distinct types of catfish, each with its particular flavor. Wild catfish and farm-raised catfish have significantly different tastes. Most catfish enthusiasts will agree that farmed catfish tastes superior to wild catfish, even though most wild fish are more flavorful than their farm-raised counterparts. This is so because bottom-dwelling wild catfish can be found in ponds or rivers.
These catfish are not particularly selective eaters and have very poor eyesight from living underground. They can taste muddy since they will even eat mud! On the other hand, farmed catfish swim in more transparent waters and are fed grains, giving them a cleaner and more dependable flavor.
What to Serve with Catfish?
The ideal mate should be served with deep-fried catfish. Enjoy your delicious seafood entrée with these delectable side dishes that will enhance the distinct flavor of the catfish!
- Hush puppies – A simple but highly addictive Southern side! You’ll love the extra crunch with your moist, tender, and succulent catfish.
- Mac and cheese – Try pairing your uniquely flavored catfish with creamy, gooey mac and cheese. You can’t go wrong with this one!
- Rice – Feeling extra hungry? Some steamed white rice will go perfectly with catfish. You can also try adding some chopped cilantro and a small squeeze of lemon juice for a different flavor!
- Cornbread – This sweet Southern staple is the perfect addition to catfish!
- Coleslaw – A great way to add veggies to your meal! Shred some cabbage and carrots, add in your mayo, vinegar, salt, and pepper, and you’ll have creamy, tangy coleslaw!
- Salt and pepper chips – Fish and chips, anyone? Catfish may taste slightly different from other white fish, but it still goes perfectly with lightly salted and peppered chips or fries!
Why does my Catfish Taste Muddy?
If you’ve never had catfish before and it tastes muddy, it might be wild catfish! In contrast to farm-raised catfish, fed grains and developed in crystal-clear waters, wild catfish are bottom-dwellers with variable diets that occasionally include mud. You can examine how much ground is inside the guts of wild catfish by cutting one open. Because of this, they sometimes have very little sweetness and a murky, fishy flavor.
Use these recommendations to prepare your catfish if you don’t like the muddy taste.
- Once the fish is filleted, you might notice some darker areas, usually along the middle of the fillet. These dark areas will have a stronger muddy or fishy flavor, so take them out.
- Blood also adds to the muddy or fishy taste, so clean it out properly. To thoroughly drain out all the mud, you can soak your catfish fillets in a bowl of salted water or ginger ale overnight.
- If your catfish is freshly caught, cut off the tail fins and hang the fish to give it time to bleed out.
What are the Health Benefits of Catfish?
Here are the health benefits of catfish:
Great for your Heart
The fact that Inuit tribes in the Arctic who consume fish have low rates of heart disease is not a coincidence; fish is common in saturated fat and high in omega-3 fatty acids, which can protect the heart against disease and lower blood cholesterol levels. According to one study, eating more fish each week could reduce your risk of heart disease by 50%.
Eating fish can increase blood flow and lower your risk of thrombosis. Seafood’s EPA and DHA, or omega-3 oils, prevent your body from producing eicosanoids, a hormone-like compound that can increase your risk of blood clots and inflammation.
It has been demonstrated that regularly eating fish in a balanced diet can reduce the swelling of the joints caused by the symptoms of rheumatoid arthritis. Osteoarthritis has also been linked by a recent study to omega-3 fats, raising the possibility that consuming more seafood may assist in preventing the condition.
Beneficial for Eyes
Frequent consumption of oil-rich fish can maintain the eyes clear and healthy. According to a recent study, omega-3 fatty acids may aid people with age-related macular degeneration (AMD). This condition results in the deterioration of the retina and blurred vision by protecting their eyesight. Retinol, a vitamin A derivative that improves night vision, is also found in fish and shellfish.
Iodine, selenium, zinc, and potassium are just a few of the vital minerals that seafood offers the body to keep us functioning normally. The thyroid gland needs iodine, and selenium produces enzymes that may help prevent cancer. Vitamins A and D are among the several vitamins that are abundant in fish and shellfish.
How to Store Catfish?
With a mellow and clean flavor, catfish is one of the market’s most versatile and healthy seafood ingredients. It’s essential you not only cook it correctly but that it’s stored properly, so it maintains freshness and flavor.
Shopping for Catfish Products
Fresh and frozen catfish are both sold. Fresh catfish can be grilled, roasted, fried in a skillet, or deep-fried. To stop bacterial growth, fresh catfish must be kept cool both during delivery and while being sold in stores.
Follow these tips when shopping for fresh catfish:
- Make sure it’s the last thing you put in your grocery cart before checking out
- Put the catfish in a disposable plastic bag. This will prevent contaminating other foods with leakage.
- Once the fresh catfish is purchased, immediately put it in a refrigerator that is 40 degrees F at most. The catfish should be cooked within 1 to 2 days or frozen at 0 degrees F.
Tips for Freezing and Thawing Catfish
According to the USDA, catfish can be repackaged or frozen indefinitely in its original container. Follow these instructions to avoid freezer burn if you intend to keep the catfish in the freezer for an extended period.
When it comes time to thaw your frozen catfish for cooking, the Food and Safety Inspection Service (FSIS) recommends these three approaches:
- Slow thawing in the refrigerator
- Submerging the catfish in cold water while changing the water every 30 minutes
- Defrosting in the microwave, making sure to cook the fish immediately after
Storing Leftover Catfish Meals
Your frozen fish will be ready to eat once you’ve cooked it according to your preferred recipe and thawed it. What about preserving leftovers, though?
Catfish leftovers can be in the freezer for two to three months or in the fridge for three to four days. When it comes time to reheat leftovers, we advise avoiding the microwave because it could potentially dry out the fish, and the oven is the most effective approach.
At Heartland Catfish, we work hard to regularly provide our clients with catfish that tastes great and is nutritious. Our catfish is safe for you and your family to eat since we closely supervise every aspect of our agricultural production. Follow these guidelines for properly handling and storing your Heartland catfish the next time you prepare catfish!
Southerners love catfish, and with good reason. The most common preparation method is frying it in a cornmeal coating, which can also be grilled. And tasty as well. There are numerous ways to prepare fried catfish, but very few compare to a few hot, crispy catfish fillets in a cornmeal crust. Dinner will be on the table in less than 20 minutes, thanks to our traditional Southern recipe. The remaining items may already be in your pantry and refrigerator; you only need to locate the fillets.
If you’ve been avoiding catfish at the fish market because its murky flavor puts you off, don’t do it just yet. On the one hand, it is a reasonably priced, nutrient-dense fish ideal for feeding prominent families. On the other hand, the taste dramatically relies on the fish’s origin and diet. Not every catfish will taste murky. Since catfish are bottom feeders and consume dirt in the wild, farmed catfish have a brighter flavor and are an excellent source of nutrition because they are raised in tanks without ground.