Upgrade your catfish with these recipes

Last weekend was a great holiday – National Catfish Day.

Today – June 25 – dates back to June 25, 1987. Then President Ronald Reagan opened a presidential address by talking about eating catfish and farmed catfish in particular. Yes, I’m sure it was a strange letter, but it had a purpose.

Reagan went on to explain how catfish farming was able to provide a steady income for catfish farmers as well as a healthy and affordable food source for the American people. Celebrates the day on which this speech was given.

The best catfish I’ve ever had was some of my kids caught during the fishing derby. We didn’t have to clean the fish, one of our friends did it for us and suggested several ways to prepare it.

Fresh fish isn’t always available, but when you are…man, eating is good.

Here are some great ways to enjoy catfish. Yes, all recipes call for brining the fish, but each is made a little differently so that it goes beyond the usual fried catfish.

Popcorn catfish provides flaked fish in one bite. photo courtesy

Popcorn Catfish

4 US farm-raised catfish fillets (1 lb), cut into bite-size pieces
vegetable oil for frying
A cup of pickled dill juice
2 cups flour
4 teaspoons onion powder
4 teaspoons garlic powder
2 teaspoons salt
2 teaspoons pepper
2 eggs
Half a cup of milk

Great sauce:
1 cup mayonnaise
Half a cup of ketchup
1 tablespoon Worcestershire sauce
1 teaspoon hot sauce
Half a teaspoon of garlic powder
1 tablespoon finely chopped fresh parsley

■ Heat the oil in a deep frying pan to 350 degrees.
■ Put the pickle juice and catfish in a bowl.
■ Toss for the coat. Then let it soak for 20 minutes.
■ In another bowl, combine flour, onion powder, garlic powder, salt and pepper. In a separate bowl, whisk eggs and milk together.
■ Dip the pieces of catfish in the egg and then the flour mixture.
■ Deep fry the catfish for 5 minutes or until golden brown.
■ Drain the excess oil on a tissue.
■ Mix all sauce ingredients and serve catfish with the dipping sauce.

Corn on the cob pan with boiled corn and peach salsa
Recipe provided by our farm-raised American catfish partner, Caramelized

4 American farm-raised catfish fillets
Salt and Pepper
garlic powder
1/4 cup corn flour
2 tablespoons olive oil

1 grain of corn
1 red tomato, cut into cubes
1 green heirloom tomato, cut into cubes
1/2 red pepper cut into cubes
1 peach cut into cubes
1 tablespoon chopped coriander
1/2 minced hot pepper (optional)
juice of 1 lemon
1 teaspoon salt

To make the sauce: Heat a small, dry saucepan over medium-high heat. Add the corn to the hot skillet in a single layer, letting it spud for 2-3 minutes before stirring. Cook for an additional two minutes. Transfer it to a medium sized bowl. Add tomatoes, peppers and peaches. Add salt, coriander and lemon. Marinate for up to 20 minutes and taste and season accordingly. Set aside while preparing catfish.
To prepare the catfish: Put the cornmeal in a shallow bowl or plate. Place the catfish fillets on a cutting board or tray. Brush both sides with olive oil and sprinkle with salt, pepper, and garlic powder. Gently sprinkle each fillet in the cornmeal. Pour the remaining olive oil into a frying pan and heat over medium-high heat. Roast the seared catfish fillets for 3 minutes on each side.
■ To serve, transfer the catfish to a plate and spoon with the sauce.

Fish pieces with pimiento cheese and fried green tomatoes
Recipe courtesy of our farm-raised American catfish partner, Eat With Erica

1 cup pimento cheese
2 small arugula cups
3 fillets of farm-raised American catfish
2 medium sized beef tomatoes
3/4 cup corn flour
3 teaspoons Cajun seasoning
1/4 cup all-purpose flour
1 egg
2 teaspoons water
1/4 cup panko
1/4 cup corn flour
1 tablespoon Cajun seasoning
1 tablespoon olive oil

For catfish:
■ Rinse the catfish fillets.
■ Combine cornmeal and Cajun seasoning in a large bowl.
■ Dry the catfish fillets. Then add to the bag, 2 at a time, and shake to coat the fillets in the mixture. Repeat until all slices are covered.
■ Place the catfish fillets in the air fryer basket.
■ Cook at 390 F for 15 minutes, flipping slices halfway through.
■ step aside

For the fried green tomatoes:
■ Cut the tomatoes 1/3 inch thick into four small squares
■ In a bowl, add the flour, in another bowl, combine the cornmeal, panko, and Cajun seasoning. In a third bowl, combine the beaten eggs and water. Prepare an empty plate.
■ It is easiest to work in batches of 2. Using your left hand, dip 2 tomatoes in the flour and shake off the excess.
■ With your left hand, drop it into the egg mixture, stirring to coat.
■ Use your right hand and drop it into the bowl of cornmeal, then toss it to cover it. Put the fried tomatoes on a plate. repeats.
■ Spray the basket of the air fryer with olive oil and gently place the fried tomatoes in the basket.
■ Cook for 6 minutes at 395 degrees
■ Place a layer of fried green tomatoes, bell pepper cheese, arugula, and catfish, and repeat until all ingredients are gone.

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