Once a staple of the poor, Catfish Is now a regular feature on menus up and down the country, serving as a delicious (not to mention cheap) source of healthy omega-3s and essential protein.
With chefs continuing to find new and exciting ways to cook and serve the tasty fish, more and more people are getting turned on to the sweet, flakey goodness of catfish. Whether it’s dredged in cornmeal and served fried atop a bowl of hushpuppies and coleslaw, or simply grilled and served with a wedge of lemon and a dusting of black pepper, catfish makes a great, nutritious meal.
As with any fish, it’s important to cook catfish for just the right amount of time. Overcook it and you risk turning out a plate of dry, inedible dust. Undercook it and you’ll not only have an unpalatable dish, but you’ll also risk a whole heap of undesirable consequences (more on which coming up).
The right cooking time will depend largely on the temperature you’re using and the size of the fish itself. Most catfish found in supermarkets and fishmongers are farmed, rather than wild. Farmed fish tend to be harvested when they reach around 1.5 lbs., which makes for fillets weighing between eight and twelve ounces.
Thinner fillets of catfish (i.e. ones with an average thickness of 1 inch or less) cook quickly and are suited to a quick cook on a high temperature. Larger fillets (with a thickness of more than 1 inch at their densest point) benefit from longer cooking at a lower temperature to ensure even cooking all the way through.
As a rule, you should allow 5- 7 minutes of total cooking time per 1 inch of thickness when using a medium high heat of around 375 degrees Fahrenheit.
Key Takeaway: Judge cooking times by thickness. Larger, thicker fillets may require a few minutes more cooking than their smaller, thinner counterparts.
When properly cooked, catfish will have a moist, delicate flake and a white, opaque appearance. Unfortunately, a few minutes over or under can make all the difference between a dish that wouldn’t be out of place at the finest restaurant to one even your dog would turn their nose up at in disgust. Knowing when catfish (or indeed, any fish) is done can sometimes feel a case of trial and error, but with a few simple hints and tips, you’ll have no problem in judging the best time to turn off the heat. For the perfect catfish, follow these 5 easy steps.
Key Takeaway: Catfish is cooked once it turns white and opaque and has an internal temperature of 145 degrees Fahrenheit.
Overcooked catfish may be a difficult mouthful to swallow, but undercooked catfish can introduce you to a lot more problems than just an overly dry texture. Parasites and toxins are a common (and serious) concern of undercooked fish, especially if you tend to buy farmed fish. The crowed tanks and pools of fish farms are the perfect breeding ground for a host of parasitic diseases, including the very nasty anisakiasis, cryptosporidiosis, and giardiasis, all of which are spread by contaminated water. The toxins in fish are hidden menaces: don’t expect to know their presence by sight, smell or taste. To avoid any undesirable consequences, make sure you only buy fish from reputable suppliers and practice safe food handling techniques at all times (including ensuring adequate and correct cooking). Unless you want to come down with a dose of scombroid or ciguatera fish poisoning, follow the steps outlined above to ensure your catfish is properly cooked.
Key Takeaway: Undercooked catfish make you vulnerable to a range of serious diseases. Play it safe and stick to well-cooked fish.
As you’re probably aware, catfish can be cooked in several different ways using any number of different cooking appliances. If you’re new to griddling and need some convincing of its merits, read on to discover why griddling is the best way of guaranteeing a delicious fish dish.
Cooking on a Blackstone griddle is the perfect way of introducing a flavorsome sear to any meat or seafood dish. Unlike other cooking methods that can dry up the fish and make for a rubbery result, griddles lock in the natural juices, guaranteeing juicy, crispy, flavorsome dishes every time. While cooking catfish on a Blackstone Griddle is a sure-fire way of creating the best fish you’ll likely taste outside (or even inside) a restaurant, there are some key pointers to remember if you want to guarantee success.
Catfish can be cooked in a number of ways, from baking to steaming, to frying to barbequing. One of the quickest, easiest and tastiest ways of cooking it is on the griddle. If you’ve never griddled catfish before, these no-mess, no hassle recipes are sure to convert you!
If you’re new to cooking catfish (either entirely or just on the griddle), this simple recipe is the ideal way to get you started. Using a bare minimum of ingredients (other than the catfish, all you’ll need is a sprinkling of salt and pepper, a dash of oil, a pat of butter and little lemon juice), this will serve up a tasty plateful of catfish with no fuss and in very little time. If you want to get fancy, a sprinkling of chopped herbs (parsley works particularly well) over the finished dish will add some added flavor and a splash of color.
Cooking Time: < 20 minutes
Key Takeaway: You don’t have to get complicated to enjoy catfish. A simple dish of tasty fish with a squeeze of lemon juice is as fit for kings as it is for paupers.
Catfish has been a staple in the south for centuries, with every good southern home having its own take on the best way to prepare it. This next recipe takes the basics of these tried and tested methods to come up with a dish that’s as simple as it is tasty. Once you’ve tried it a few times, feel free to adjust the seasonings to your own preferred tastes: you can alter the quantities, omit some entirely, or even add some new additions. Provided you keep the overall quantities of wet to dry ingredients the same, you can personalize the dish to your heart’s content.
Cooking time: < 25 minutes
Key takeaway: if you’re adding a spicy layer to the catfish, allow it to “marinate” in the seasoning for a few hours before you start to cook. This will allow the fish to take on the full flavor of the spices and give added “oomph” to the finished dish.
What could be nicer than a plate of gorgeous blackened catfish, fresh and smoky from the griddle and served with a delicious pat of tangy cilantro-lime butter? Answers on a postcard, please…
Cooking time: < 20 minutes
Key Takeaway: A flavored butter can go a long way in transforming a plate of simple fish into something heavenly. Feel free to add your favorite combination of flavors and spices to the butter to create your own personal take on the recipe.