What do you think fish with barbels like cat whiskers should taste like?
What are these fishes, and do they taste fishy, mild, or sweet? We have answers for you.
These fishes with highly sensory barbels (four pairs) are Catfish, and they are spread across the waters worldwide but can sometimes be challenging to locate.
Nonetheless, they are much favored by seafood lovers and have found their way into many fish recipes.
What does Catfish taste like, and what makes them so favored as a delectable food choice?
As you read, you’ll learn much about Catfish, their taste chart, and how to use them to get the best dishes for your palate to relish.
What is Catfish?
Catfish are freshwater fish that are distinguished for their unique appearance and diversity.
They rank among the top most-diverse vertebrates and dominate a large part of seafood cuisines.
Their whisker-like barbels are not just parts of their body; they act as sensory organs.
These help them taste food and smell chemicals in the water.
Catfish have almost cylindrical bodies with a flattened head and ventrum.
They do not have scales n their body but are instead covered in a mucus-like substance.
When provoked, the spines in their dorsal and pectoral fins can release stinging proteins as a defense mechanism.
And in the worst-case scenarios, the sting can even hospitalize you.
Presently, more than 3000 species of Catfish have made it into directories, and it’s only a matter of time before the count increases.
These fishes are so in demand that, despite being available in plenty, they are domesticated; Mississippi is the largest producer among them.
What Does Catfish Taste Like?
If you think that Catfish taste like regular white fish with a fishy smell and a flaky texture, you’re wrong because it is not so.
They are often compared to Tilapia for their similarity in taste, so let’s see what makes them different.
Catfish can have varying tastes depending on where it is bred and which species it belongs to, but they all have a common flavor.
Their mild taste and sweeter undertones set them apart from other fishes.
Catfish from the wild waters have a muddy smell, mainly because they’re bottom feeders, exposed to dirt, and ingest unfiltered particles.
Apart from the taste, these fishes also have a firm texture that is perfect for almost any type of cooking.
The meat will stay together no matter how you cook them, giving you lesser things to worry about.
But does this uniqueness come with any special benefits, or does Catfish only look and taste different?
Catfish caught in the wild have more protein, fiber, and minerals than those raised on fish farms.
On the other hand, those raised on farms have more fat and iron.
But they are both rich in omega-3 fatty acids and vitamins.
However, these differences only arise due to the type of feed used at the farms.
For instance, if you add more protein to the Catfish’s feed at farms, they will have more protein than those from the wild.
Domestic producers make the fish easily accessible.
However, many people still prefer the old-school way of fishing out in the wild and having a taste of nature’s bounty.
How to Cook and Use Catfish?
Catfish tastes better with each ingredient you add, and you can use them in so many recipes, so here is a list of our favorites:
- Grilled Catfish: In case you didn’t know, grilling is one of the healthiest cooking methods. A simple seasoning of butter, pepper, and lemon juice will go a long way to heighten the overall taste of grilled Catfish.
- Make a hearty Catfish stew: Since Catfish is so beneficial to your health, it is a great option to cook as a stew to help comfort you any time of the day. It doesn’t hurt to use seasonings and spices to your advantage, so use them.
- Deep-fry them after breading: If you want to try breaking the rules of healthy eating, deep-frying Catfish will not disappoint. You need only season the fillets, coat them with an egg and flour batter, cover in breadcrumbs, and fry them.
The one and most disappointing aspect of seafood is the presence of contaminants.
Toxins such as high mercury content can pose severe health risks.
But the good news is that you will have no such issues with Catfish because they contain a meager amount of mercury and are even considered one of the healthiest varieties of fish.
Catfish can make the best fish recipes and are even better when combined with healthy cooking methods.
A simple yet healthy method such as grilling is enough to make your entire meal delicious and put together.
This is because all the nutrients are preserved in the food without dissipating into any cooking medium such as water or oil.
So, if you’ve never tried catfish before or want to reap their benefits now that you know, it’s time you try it.
And the next time you visit a fishmonger, don’t ask for anything but Catfish.