This past weekend marked a great holiday — National Catfish Day.
The day — June 25 — dates back to June 25, 1987. Then President Ronald Reagan opened a presidential address by speaking about eating catfish and farmed catfish in particular. Yeah, I’m sure that was an odd speech, but it had a purpose.
Reagan went on to explain how catfish farming was able to create both a stable income for catfish farmers as well as an affordable and healthy food source for the American people. The day celebrates when that speech was made.
The best catfish I’ve ever had was some my kids caught during a fishing derby. We didn’t have to clean the fish, one of our friends did it for us and suggested a few ways to prepare it.
Fresh fish isn’t always available, but when it is … man, it’s good eating.
Below are some great ways to enjoy catfish. Yes, all the recipes call for breading the fish, but they’re each made a bit differently so they go beyond your standard fried catfish.
4 U.S. Farm-Raised Catfish fillets (1 pound), cut into bite-size pieces
Vegetable oil for frying
½ cup dill pickle juice
2 cups flour
4 teaspoons onion powder
4 teaspoons garlic powder
2 teaspoons salt
2 teaspoons pepper
½ cup milk
1 cup mayonnaise
¼ cup ketchup
1 tablespoon Worcestershire sauce
1 teaspoon hot sauce
½ teaspoon garlic powder
1 tablespoon fresh parsley, finely chopped
■ Heat oil in a deep fryer to 350 degrees.
■ Place pickle juice and catfish in a bowl.
■ Toss to coat; then let marinate for 20 minutes.
■ In another bowl, combine flour, onion powder, garlic powder, salt and pepper. In a separate bowl, whisk the egg and milk together.
■ Dredge the catfish pieces in the egg, then the flour mixture.
■ Deep-fry the catfish for 5 minutes or until golden brown.
■ Drain any excess oil on paper towel.
■ Mix all sauce ingredients and SERVE catfish with dipping sauce.
PAN SEARED CORNMEAL CRUSTED CATFISH WITH BLISTERED CORN AND PEACH SALSA
Recipe courtesy of U.S. Farm-Raised Catfish partner, Caramelized
4 U.S. Farm-Raised Catfish filets
Salt and pepper
1/4 cup cornmeal
2 tablespoons olive oil
1 ear corn kernels
1 red heirloom tomato, diced
1 green heirloom tomato, diced
1/2 red bell pepper, diced
1 peach, diced
1 tablespoon chopped cilantro
1/2 jalapeño, chopped (optional)
Juice of 1 lime
1 teaspoon salt
■ To prepare salsa: Heat a dry small saucepan over medium-high heat. Add corn to hot skillet in a single layer, allowing to blister 2-3 minutes before tossing. Cook for 2 more minutes. Transfer to a medium bowl. Add tomatoes, peppers and peach. Stir in salt, cilantro and lime. Marinate for up to 20 minutes, tasting and seasoning accordingly. Set aside while preparing catfish.
■ To prepare catfish: Place cornmeal in a shallow bowl or plate. Place catfish fillets on a cutting board or tray. Brush both sides with olive oil and sprinkle with salt, pepper, and garlic powder. Lightly dust each fillet in cornmeal. Pour remaining olive oil in skillet and heat over medium-high heat. Pan sear catfish fillets for 3 minutes on each side.
■ To serve, transfer catfish to a plate and spoon with salsa.
CATFISH BITES WITH PIMIENTO CHEESE AND FRIED GREEN TOMATOES
Recipe courtesy of U.S. Farm-Raised Catfish partner, Eating With Erica
1 cup of Pimento Cheese
2 cups of Baby Arugula
3 fillets of U.S Farm-Raised Catfish
2 medium-large beefsteak tomatoes
3/4 cup cornmeal
3 teaspoons Cajun seasoning
1/4 cup all-purpose flour
2 tsp water
1/4 cup panko
1/4 cup cornmeal
1 tbsp of Cajun seasoning
1 tbsp olive oil
■ Rinse of catfish fillet.
■ Mix the cornmeal and Cajun seasoning in a large bowl.
■ Dry the catfish fillets. Then add them to the bag, 2 at a time, and shake to cover the fillets in the mixture. Repeat until all of the fillets are coated.
■ Place the catfish fillets in the air fryer basket.
■ Cook on 390 F for 15 minutes, flipping the fillets halfway through.
■ Set Aside
for Fried Green Tomatoes:
■ Slice tomatoes about 1/3 inch thick into small four squares
■ In one bowl add flour, in another combine cornmeal, panko, and cajun seasoning. In a third bowl combine beaten egg and water. Set up an empty plate.
■ It’s easiest to work in batches of 2. With your left hand, dredge 2 tomatoes through the flour and shake the excess off.
■ With your left hand, drop them into the egg mixture, stirring to coat.
■ Use your right hand and drop them into the cornmeal bowl and toss to coat. Place your breaded tomatoes onto a plate. Repeat.
■ Spray the basket of the air fryer with olive oil and gently place the breaded tomatoes in the basket.
■ Cook for 6 minutes at 395 degrees
■ Layer fried green tomato, pimento cheese, arugula and catfish and repeat until all ingredients are gone.
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