Catfish are a diverse group of ray-finned fish which are abundant in lakes and rivers all over the world. Catfish vary in length, size, coloring and behavior and the skin is tough, almost like armor and does not have any scales. Despite the name, not all varieties of catfish have barbels; some are defined by skull features and swim bladder (an organ which helps fish control buoyancy).
Catfish have lived in virtually every type of climatic water and on every continent except for Antarctica and are most diverse in the waters of South America, Asia and Africa. These fish favor shallow, running water and are bottom feeders and will sink rather than float, due to a gas bladder. Catfish have been widely captured and used for food for hundreds of years in North America, Africa, Europe and Asia.
In Central Europe, the fish is a delicacy and is enjoyed on holidays, while in the Southern United States it is an extremely popular dish. The most common species eaten in the US are blue catfish and the channel catfish, of which can be caught wild and are farmed as well. The fish is served in many different ways, depending upon the location and in America; it is commonly crumbled with cornmeal and deep fried.
One of the most common fish caught in the Missouri Rivers is catfish and nothing could be better than sinking your teeth into a tender, juicy fillet. Below is a quick, easy recipe for catfish fillets, which is sure to be a crowd pleaser or good for a family that wants to enjoy the spoils of the catch after a day on the river.
Traditional Cornmeal Encrusted Catfish
- 2 egg, lightly beaten
- 3 tablespoons lemon juice
- 3/4 cup all-purpose flour
- 1/4 cup and 2 tablespoons yellow cornmeal
- 1-1/2 teaspoons Cajun seasoning
- 3/4 teaspoon garlic powder
- 3/4 teaspoon salt
- 6 (6 ounce) fillets catfish
- 1/4 cup and 1 teaspoon vegetable oil
- In a shallow bowl, combine the egg and lemon juice. In another shallow bowl, combine the flour, cornmeal, Cajun seasoning, garlic powder and salt. Dip catfish into egg mixture, then coat with cornmeal mixture.
- In a large skillet, heat oil over medium heat. Fry fillets, two at a time, for 5-6 minutes on each side or until fish flakes easily with a fork.
The recipe serves 6 adults and can be enjoyed with a side of hush puppies, cornbread, macaroni and cheese or any other traditional southern type side dishes. Catfish is one of the most versatile of all fish and is a favorite of people all over the world.