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Thread: is catfish fishy?

  1. #1
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    is catfish fishy?

    i am just starting to eat fish and was wondering how 'fishy' catfish is (that crisp crusted catfish recipe sounds pretty good). last night, i had mahi mahi on the grill and it was 'successful'. i also enjoy tuna steaks. i think i also had flounder once and it wasn't too bad... salmon, on the other hand, i found to be really gross!

    any input is appreciated...

    marisa

  2. #2
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    I have to say that I am a seafood lover, but catfish is one of two fish that I absolutely will not eat (monkfish is the other). You can get good, fresh catfish, but because it's primarily farm-raised, there are problems with off-flavoring, and you can get really musty and earthy tasting catfish as well. Good, fresh catfish should be mild, not too fishy tasting. I guess most of my experiences haven't been good, so it's completely turned me off to catfish. Not to mention that I've been to too many fish farms and know too much about all the nasty critters that cause the off-flavoring in the first place. Ick.

  3. #3
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    on the other hand...

    If you buy catfish and make sure it is firm and white-looking, you can seldom go wrong. (BTW, those cajun seasoned catfish fillets they have in the grocery stores are generally excellent)

    I'd say give them a try. I tried them under protest and discovered that I really liked them. Not rank, musty or fishy. I started buying them for myself. I plan to try that catfish recipe, myself, this weekend.

    Let us know how you like them!
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  4. #4
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    Catfish is an absolutely delicious fish. The fish should be whitish looking and firm. It has a soft texture and tastes buttery. If you like cod, sea bass, halibut, haddock, then you will probably like catfish. The crisp-cooted catfish recipe from the August issue is a very good recipe. If you like things ****, add some cajun seasoning or even cayenne pepper to the coating.

  5. #5
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    Or you can always try the same recipe on a fish you like. Personally I like catfish, but i rarely buy it at the grocery store, I go to a fish market.
    Peggy
    ...Wag more
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  6. #6

    Cool

    Here's some information for you regarding catfish from my "fish source." I love catfish and eat quite a bit of it, but I will agree that aggie94 has a point that it can be kind of a gamble at times. Though I'd wager to say that as much of 95 per cent of the catfish I've gotten has been mild-flavored and tasty, there are those few shipments which seem to sneak in which tend to have that bottom-of-the-tank kinda taste. It isn't what I'd define as "fishy" tasting: it tastes muddy-- reflecting what those little fellas have been eating.


    Seafood Handbook : Catfish

    Catfish
    Scientific name: Ictalurus punctatus
    Market name: Catfish
    Common names: Channel catfish, channel cat, farm-raised catfish
    The Catfish Story
    Farming catfish is truly a U.S. seafood industry success story. It started in Arkansas in the 1960s and expanded into an economic powerhouse as Southern soybean and rice farmers built ponds and processing facilities. Most catfish farms today are located in the Mississippi Delta, with additional production in Alabama, Arkansas and Louisiana. A typical pond is 16 acres and produces 4,000 to 7,000 pounds of catfish per acre.

    The channel cat is possibly the fastest-growing catfish species in the world. And it's one of the best protein converters: 1 pound of catfish for every 2 pounds of feed (compared to 7:1 for beef and 4:1 for pork). At market size (1 to 1 1/2 pounds), catfish are harvested and then transported live in tank trucks from the farms to processing plants, where they are processed immediately. Catfish is one of the most quality-controlled products in the food industry, and its farming is regulated by the Food and Drug Administration.




    Product Profile

    Because it's a grain-fed, farmed fish, catfish has a consistently sweet, mild taste. It absorbs other flavors readily. The moist, dense meat is firm and has less flake than the typical whitefish.

    Fresh catfish meat is white to off-white, sometimes pinkish, with noticeable translucency and iridescence. Cooked meat is opaque and white. Don't buy it if it is reddish or slightly yellow. Also, don't expect it to have the oceany odor of marine fish; uncooked catfish smells almost like raw chicken.




    You Should Know...


    Quality can fluctuate with water conditions and feed sources. Watch out for "specials" that might feature wild, river-caught catfish. And don't mistake ocean catfish, or wolffish, for farmed channel catfish.

    Cooking Tips & Methods


    With a fairly mild flavor and an unusual texture, catfish is as versatile as chicken; dress it up with a complex sauce, or dress it down for an outdoor barbecue. Sauce or season with a range of flavorings, from mild to strong; channel catfish can handle them all. For the classic catfish dish, dust fillets with corn meal and fry in vegetable oil; serve with hush puppies.

    Bake Poach
    Broil Saute
    Fry Smoke
    Grill Steam


    Substitutions Grouper, Sea bass, Rockfish
    Primary Product Forms

    Fresh
    Whole
    H&G
    Fillets (skinless/boneless) Strips, nuggets
    Steaks

    Frozen
    Whole
    H&G
    Fillets (skinless/boneless) Strips, nuggets
    Steaks

    Value-added
    Breaded fillets, strips,
    nuggets Marinated or seasoned fillets, strips, nuggets
    Prepared entrées




    Nutrition Facts
    SERVING SIZE:
    100G/3.5 OZ. (raw)

    --------------------------------------------------------------------------------

    AMOUNT PER SERVING


    Calories 115
    Fat Calories 38
    Total Fat 4.4 g
    Saturated Fat 1.1 g
    Cholesterol 52 mg
    Sodium 63 mg
    Protein 17.6 g
    Omega-3 0.6 g

    ---

    I should also mention that if you're at all leery, go with one of the spicy coatings. Catfish seems tolove that kind of treatment and in the unlikely event you should happen upon one of the muddier-tasting sorts, you'll be less apt to notice.

    I say go for it! Absatively!

  7. #7
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    I would have to agree with Aggie, here too. I am an avid eater of just about any fish. HOWEVER, catfish just tastes too "off" for me. That muddy flavor just turns my tongue inside out. BLEH!

    Might I suggest Tilapia for you to try, it is also a farmed fish, very mild flavor, and I have not experienced the musty, off flavor in Tilapia like I have with Catfish...I think it would work well in that oven-fried catfish recipe from August, which, BTW, I am cooking up for lunch today- I'll let you know how it goes. -with Tilapia, of course.

    Just my humble opinion.

  8. #8
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    Around here the Tilapia isn't very highly regarded! We do love our catfish though. If it tastes muddy then it may have not been cleaned properly (I have had "wild" catfish that is superb) or it could have been a real mudcat as opposed to a channel cat.
    Hopefully, you'll still be adventerous enough to try it yourself!
    Well-behaved women seldom make history!

  9. #9
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    Actually, the muddy or earthy off-flavor in farm-raised catfish comes from compounds produced by certain types of bacteria that are absorbed into the flesh of the fish, so it can't be "cleaned" away. I'll admit that I have never had wild catfish, so I can't comment on the quality - I'm sure it tastes fine, but the idea of catfish just makes me cringe now. And it's not all bottom-feeders, because I love flounder. It's just something about catfish for me!

  10. #10
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    Well, I was intrigued by your response,aggie, so I did a little research and found a great site for The Catfish Institute and this is what is says about the off-flavor:

    Off-Flavor

    There exists naturally in most aqua-cultured and agricultured products a flavor component called off-flavor. This uncommon but natural occurrence in farm-raised catfish results from an excess blue-green algae bloom in the ponds. It is not harmful to consume but may result in a taste distortion of varying degrees. This is not acceptable by any farm-raised catfish processor and a rigorous system is set in place that checks for off-flavors at 3 to 5 check-points on the way from pond to production. Any such product should be returned to the supplier.

    Here's a link to their site:
    http://www.catfishinstitute.com/
    Well-behaved women seldom make history!

  11. #11
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    Thanks for providing that info, Sneezles. I was a fisheries & aquaculture major in college, and we toured a lot of catfish farms in the South one summer. We also spent some time at a university in Mississippi (don't recall which one now) that was doing a lot of off-flavoring study in catfish. We learned alot about cyanobacteria (fka blue-green algae) and even sampled fish that had problems with MIB and geosmin, the two main compounds that lead to muddy/earthy flavors. After that, I never touched catfish again!

    I am guessing that farm-raised catfish has come a LONG way from what it was like 8 years ago, which is when I stopped eating it. Who knows - maybe I'll actually consider trying it again now, knowing that the check process is more stringent now. I doubt I'll look for it here, though - I don't think there's many catfish farms in the NW (if any at all!), but I'd consider revisiting the issue the next time I'm in Texas.

  12. #12
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    mb, I have to say, catfish is awesome fried with cornmeal....one of the few fish I enjoy better fried than a healthy way. Id like to try a baked "fried" catfish!
    ~Kim~

    Nashville Restaurant Examiner - check out my page
    Check out my blog: Zen Kitchen http://onehotkitchen-kim.blogspot.com/

    "Without question, the greatest invention in the history of mankind is beer. Oh, I grant you that the wheel was also a fine invention, but the wheel does not go nearly as well with pizza."
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  13. #13
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    Marisa, I'm in your boat. I'm still learning to like fish and have discovered I like the same kinds that you mentioned and also do not like salmon!

    A good friend of mine called last night to advise me she tried the CL catfish recipe and said it's awesome. So, I cannot recommend it myself but heard through the grapevine that it's a good one to try.

  14. #14
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    Count me in as a catfish hater (Salmon hater also). I grew up close to the Mississippi River & thus ate tons of it as a kid. Hated it then too. As an adult, I visited friends in New Orleans who convinced me to give it another chance, explaining all about the differences between river fish and pond raised. I tried it and guess what...it tasted exactly the same as I remember. YUCK. I find that it has a very distinctive flavor. That flavor was less strong in the pond raised, but it was definitely still there.

  15. #15
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    Kim,
    If you are able to eat fish still, you might want to take a trip to Babin's out on Mason Rd & I-10 one weekend and try their Blackened Catfish with Lemon butter sauce topped with crawfish...Oh, my!!! You've never tasted such catfish!
    Well-behaved women seldom make history!

  16. #16
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    SO far seafood hasnt bothered me at all (keep your fingers crossed). I will talk DH into trying it
    ~Kim~

    Nashville Restaurant Examiner - check out my page
    Check out my blog: Zen Kitchen http://onehotkitchen-kim.blogspot.com/

    "Without question, the greatest invention in the history of mankind is beer. Oh, I grant you that the wheel was also a fine invention, but the wheel does not go nearly as well with pizza."
    Dave Barry

  17. #17
    Originally posted by sneezles
    Kim,
    If you are able to eat fish still, you might want to take a trip to Babin's out on Mason Rd & I-10 one weekend and try their Blackened Catfish with Lemon butter sauce topped with crawfish...Oh, my!!! You've never tasted such catfish!
    Oh Sneezles, this sounds soooo good! (drooling like mad) Tell me more about it. In detail. Maybe I'll try to get creative.

  18. #18
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    thanks for all your help! it seems like the reaction to catfish is mixed - about 50% like it and 50% hate it. this makes me kinda nervous, as i am not the gambling type...

    i'll let you know if i decide to brave it. heck, if kim was brave enough to try octopus, then i should probably try catfish.

    marisa

  19. #19
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    Well,
    It was a lightly blackened (in that it wasn't excessively coated with Cajun spices but really had a good kick to it) and then there was this lemon butter sauce that just had a hint of lemon (very clear in color, too. I guess like a Beurre Blanc) there were about 5 steamed crawfish tails on top, all on a bed of Cajun rice. It was wild catfish from Louisiana but the taste of the fish was very mild and it just melted in your mouth.
    Well-behaved women seldom make history!

  20. #20

    Cool

    So, the sauce was over the blackened filet and the crawfish tails over that? (Slurp, drool!)

  21. #21
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    Yup! Still trying to figure out how to get back there ASAP and have it again! Wondering if the chef will part with the recipe!
    Well-behaved women seldom make history!

  22. #22

    Cool

    If you get it, PUH-leeeeeze pass it on!

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