Catfish is a popular, mild and sweet tasting fresh water fish predominantly found in the southern part of the United States. While not one of the prettiest fish to look at with their long whiskers, this fish is quite tasty to eat. There are several ways to prepare a catfish to delight the taste buds; pan frying, deep frying, baked and grilled.
Pan Frying Catfish
Pan frying catfish is a quick and easy way to cook a few fillets. Pan frying connoisseurs prefer soaking the fresh catfish fillets in milk or buttermilk for half an hour prior to frying. In a flat bottomed dish like a pie pan, mix your favorite seasonings and cornmeal and dredge the fillets through the mix and let stand for five minutes. In a cast iron skillet heat the oil or butter and fry the fillets 5 to 7 minutes per side. Remove to fresh paper towels and serve.
Deep Frying Catfish
Deep frying is the most popular method of serving catfish in the south. In a large pot, oil, usually peanut oil is heated to 357 degrees. The fish is prepared as if you were frying by coating with milk and dredging in cornmeal and spices. The secret is in the spices each person uses and often include cayenne pepper. Place 4 to 6 pieces in the oil and fry 6-7 minutes per side until golden brown or the fish can be held by one end without flopping.
If you are living on the healthier side and don’t want the oils of frying, there is the popular method of baking. Heat your oven to 375 degrees. Season the fillets as you would like and place in a casserole dish. Some people like basting the fish with butter or cooking in wine with lemon and garlic but this is personal preference. Bake the fillets for 10-12 minutes until done and flaky.
Finally there is grilling. If you have a grilling basket this is makes for a delightful way to grill catfish. Simply coat your fish in your seasonings, using some kind of fat is recommended but not required. Place the basket in your grill and close the lid. At 300-400 degrees the fish will bake in 6-8 minutes per side. If you don’t have a grilling basket, prepare the fish as you like and wrap in tin-foil, sealing the edges completely. Using the same temperature put the sealed fish on the grill for 8-10 minutes. A nicely sealed foil packet will cook and steam the fish for a moist and tender dinner.