Environmentally friendly, inexpensive & versatile, catfish is an easy choice for dinner any night.
Chances are, if you’re not in New Orleans most of the catfish you’ll find at the supermarket is farmed. New catfish farming techniques have begun to produce milder-tasting catfish that has helped drive demand for the fish. Luckily U.S. farmed catfish is one of the most sustainable fish you can choose, according to the Monterey Bay Aquarium (mbayaq.org/cr/seafoodwatch.asp). Typically it’s farmed in closed ponds so there’s little chance the fish will escape and breed with or pass diseases on to native catfish populations. Plus they’re fed a mostly vegetarian diet, which means other fish populations aren’t being decimated in order to grow catfish.
Fonseca’s favorite way to cook catfish? He dusts the fish with a pinch of Cajun spices, no flour. Then he heats a bit of olive oil in a skillet until it’s good and hot and he sizzles the fish until it’s golden-brown. We took inspiration from his simple preparation for our Cajun spiced catfish with roasted okra and corn. Once you try that you can move on to catfish étouffée, sautéed catfish with a black bean-garlic and scallion sauce or a quick catfish hash with grainy mustard and red peppers. Whether you head to the local supermarket for farmed catfish or maybe even catch one yourself, we can hook you up with great recipes. Just turn the page.
Documentary filmmaker and James Beard Award finalist Kevin McCaffrey is working on a trilogy of films on Louisiana culinary culture.