In our previous blogs, we’ve covered the difference between U.S. farm-raised catfish and imported catfish, as well as why catfish should not be considered a “poor man’s fish.” Another common misconception about catfish? It’s flavor. But in reality, U.S. farm-raised catfish is becoming more popular everywhere from high-end restaurants to family dinners at home.
U.S. farm-raised catfish is different from imported or wild catfish in many ways, including its taste and flavor profile. Wild catfish are typically bottom feeders, meaning they scavenge for food at the bottom of lakes, ponds and rivers. This results in different flavors that are inconsistent from fish to fish because they have different diets. Imported fish, while raised on farms, are often farmed without strict health regulations. Their ponds can contain waste and they aren’t always fed the best quality nutrition, resulting in a bad flavor.
Catfish raised sustainably on farms in the U.S. are kept in man-made ponds protected from waste and runoff water. Their diet consists of a floating grain-based feed, which they’re fed from a young age to train them to look for food at the top of the ponds. This prevents them from searching for separate food sources at the bottom of the pond. A consistent, high-quality food source ensures that the catfish have a clean, mild flavor, unlike their wild and imported counterparts.
Chef Jason Goodenough, owner and chef at Carrollton Market in New Orleans, says that catfish is a “versatile ingredient because it has a flavor profile that lends itself to a lot of different cuisines.” The ability to use catfish in so many different recipes with different accompanying ingredients means it’s perfect for a variety of recipes. “I think the profile is light. It’s clean, it’s mellow. That’s what makes it so versatile,” Goodenough says. According to Goodenough, catfish is a” fresh, fantastic ingredient that can be used at the highest level of gastronomy all the way down to a fish fry.”
At Heartland Catfish, our goal is to consistently serve you great tasting catfish through a strictly regulated agricultural process from egg to harvest. This includes a flavor test for each batch of fish that comes through our processing plant, to guarantee consistent flavor that our customers have grown to love. The next time you’re looking for a healthy dinner option, try U.S. farm-raised catfish for a sustainable, delicious and versatile ingredient.