Today’s farm-raised catfish is a far cry from the fishy catch grandpa brought home. Sara Moulton, author of Sara Moulton’s Everyday Family Dinners, shares simple tips on how to pick and prepare this versatile dish for the whole family to enjoy.
These days, the catfish you consume aren’t like the ones your grandpa used to catch in local ponds and streams. The farm-raised catfish you will find in today’s markets have been trained to feast on a special diet that floats on the surface of the water and reduces the off flavors that once marred catfish’s popularity. Farm-raised catfish come to market in a uniform size, filleted, boned, and skinned, all ready to go in the pan, under the broiler, or on the grill. In the store, select fresh fillets that look moist, almost translucent, and vary from pure white to pink in color. As with all fish, catfish should have no fishy odor.
Catfish have several areas that are fattier than the rest of the fillet, and removing those areas not only makes the fish leaner, it reduces the possibility of the fish’s having the “muddy” flavor that wild catfish are known for. The largest fatty area is a layer right under the skin. This is sometimes removed in processing, and the fish is labeled “double skinned.” If the fatty area is still visible, it can be easily scraped off with the blade of a knife. Removing the gray line that runs lengthwise down the center of the fillet will also improve the flavor. You can either split the fillet and trim off the gray area or cut a V down the center of the fillet to remove it.
ABOUT THE AUTHOR
Admired by millions as the host of Cooking Live, Cooking Live Primetime, and Sara’s Secrets, Sara Moulton, author of Sara Moulton’s Everyday Family Dinners (Copyright © 2010 by Sara Moulton Enterprises), was one of the Food Network’s defining personalities during its first decade. In addition, the energetic Moulton was the executive chef of Gourmet magazine for twenty-three years. She is the food editor of ABC-TV’s Good Morning America, and the author of Sara’s Secrets for Weeknight Meals and Sara Moulton Cooks at Home. In April 2008, Moulton launched a new twenty-episode television series on public television, Sara’s Weeknight Meals. She lives in New York City with her husband and two children.
- Learn more about Sara Moulton’s Everyday Dinners and browse inside the book
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