Catfish is a great meal option at any time of year, but it’s lightness and versatility make it especially popular during the summer. But farm-fresh catfish isn’t just delicious—it’s also a very healthy source of protein that also comes low in calories. This food source is packed with important nutrients, including vitamin B12, selenium, and omega-3 and omega-6 fatty acids.
“Eating farm-raised catfish offers more than nutritional value,” says Jon Kalahar, Communications Coordinator for for Farm Families of Mississippi. “It tastes fresh and supplies your body with much-needed vitamins, protein and minerals that promote healthy tissue function.”
Whether baked, grilled or fried, catfish lends itself to a number of different flavorful dishes. Yet preparing catfish is often a simple process, making it a great featured item for both beginning cooks and home chefs to feature at the dinner table. Here are three recipes that showcase the different approaches to cooking catfish fillets.
Fried catfish is the best-known method of cooking catfish in the South, and while the cooking process is simple, the finished product will blow away your friends and family.
Start by preheating your oven to 200 degrees. Add a foil-lined baking sheet into the oven. You will use your oven as a warmer to hold fried catfish pieces while you cook the rest. Then gather your catfish into a bowl and pour 1 c. buttermilk into the bowl, mixing around the fillets to make sure they’re fully soaked. While the fillets absorb the buttermilk, pour one inch of frying oil into a deep skillet or Dutch oven, and heat the skillet on your stovetop to medium-high heat.
Create a breading mixture in a large bowl or deep pan that consists of 1 c. cornmeal, 1/2 c. all-purpose flour, 2 tsp. salt, 1 tsp. ground paprika, 1 tsp. cayenne pepper, and 1/2 tsp. garlic powder. Once mixed, dredge the catfish until fully covered in the cornmeal mix, then drop into the heated frying oil. Cook each piece for five to six minutes, or until the fried exterior has turned golden brown.”
Remove cooked fillets from the oil and place on your oven baking sheet, repeating this process until all fillets are cooked.
Simple Baked Catfish
A basic baked catfish recipe is an easy go-to when you’re looking for a quick, delicious dinner option. Start by preheating your oven to 425 degrees and drizzling olive oil into a large baking sheet. While the oven preheats, mix 1 c. cornmeal and 1 Tbsp. Cajun seasoning. Season catfish fillets with salt and pepper before dredging the pieces in your corneal mix. Make sure the cornmeal coating has covered both sides of your fillets.
Once the oven is preheated, place the fillets on a baking sheet, drizzle with olive oil, and bake until the fish flakes easily when scratched by a fork—about 15 minutes. Remove from oven and serve with lemon wedges for a bright, summery finish.
Southwestern Grilled Catfish
Grilled Catfish comes together in a snap—and the right seasonings can give it a southwestern flair that makes it a good fit for sandwiches, tacos, or on its own. Start by creating a seasoning that uses 3 tsp. each of paprika and chili powder, 2 tsp. salt, 1 1/5 tsp. each of ground cumin and coriander, 1 tsp. cayenne pepper and 1/2 tsp garlic powder.
Mix those ingredients together and rub them over your catfish fillets before placing them over high heat on a grill sprayed with cooking spray. Grill for five minutes per side until the fillets flake with scratched with a fork. Remove, allow a few minutes to rest, and serve.
“Buying fresh, farm-raised catfish and cooking it, farm to table is one of the best ways to provide nutritious, healthy and savory dishes for your family this summer, says Jon Kalahar, Communications Coordinator for Farm Families of Mississippi. “Whether you opt for full-on southern-style catfish or a slightly lighter approach, have fun exploring the many ways this protein source can be used to brighten up your meals this summer.”