Catfish Preparation Beyond The Frying Pan

Are you a cat "fish"ionado? If so, you probably know that the catfish is the fourth most popular fish in America.

Because it's so tasty, versatile and affordable, the U.S. Farm-Raised Catfish has earned a spot as the catch of the day on many lunch and dinner menus.

When most people get hold of a catfish, the first thing they do is fry it. But there's more to the catfish than a frying pan.

The truth is, catfish can be poached, broiled, baked, saut├ęd, smoked, simmered, steamed or roasted. Many times, it can be prepared in under 15 minutes, making this fish a favorite staple in the homes of busy families.

No need to mess with bones either: if you purchase U.S. Farm-Raised Catfish fillets at your local seafood counter, all you have to do is decide how to cook it.

Here are some quick tips on a few ways to prepare catfish:

* Poaching: Simmer your favorite herbs in water and insert fillets for about eight minutes.

* Broiling: Coat catfish with flour and exotic spices or bread crumbs. Place fish on a rack above a baking dish. Broil each side one and a half to five minutes, depending on size.

* Baking: Marinate in lemon juice, buttermilk or your favorite herbs for 30 minutes. Bake at 400 F until flesh turns white.

U.S. Farm-Raised Catfish is known for its consistent high quality, mild flavor and firm texture that is also perfect for grilling. Here's a mouthwatering recipe from Karen Adler's and Judith Fertig's cookbook "Fish & Shellfish, Grilled & Smoked."

GRILLED CATFISH WITH SPICY CANTALOUPE SLICES

(Serves 4)

4 U.S. Farm-Raised Catfish

fillets, 6 to 8 ounces each

2 tablespoons olive oil

Salt and pepper

Juice of half a lime

8 to 12 thin cantaloupe wedges

2 tablespoons chopped mint leaves

1/2 teaspoon red pepper

1 cup fresh blueberries or strawberries

Lightly oil the fish fillets and sprinkle with salt and pepper. Prepare a hot fire.

When ready to grill, set an oiled, perforated grill rack over the fire. Place the fish on the rack and grill until the fish is opaque and just beginning to flake when tested with a fork, 4 to 5 minutes per side, turning once halfway through the grilling time.

Arrange the fillets on 4 serving plates. Fan 2 to 3 wedges of melon on each plate. Squeeze the juice of half a lime over the fish and melon. Sprinkle with the mint leaves, red pepper flakes, and blueberries or strawberries.

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About The Author, Rodney Wright
For more than 200 recipes and a free cookbook, visit www.catfishinstitute.com. - NU