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Catfish: The new nostalgic dish

Jul 16, 2014

Jason Q. Freed


Chances are, most of your guests have eaten catfish before.

 Maybe they caught one during a camping trip as a kid and later dad helped them cook it over an open fire. Or maybe they’re from the South, where backyard fish fries often feature catfish battered with cornmeal and served with French fries and coleslaw.

 But, chances are, they haven’t ordered catfish from a sit-down restaurant. Because catfish is a bottom-feeding fish in the wild, it is often perceived as dirty and unhealthy.

 However, chefs at both upscale and casual establishments have found new ways to clean, season and prepare the fish. And catfish—high in Vitamin D and often containing low levels of omega-3 fatty acids—is popping up on menus across the country.

As sustainability becomes more important to diners, more restaurants are introducing new cuts of meat and seafood species on their menu. Getting creative with catfish allows restaurants to be mindful of overfishing the more popular breeds, and diners are finding catfish to be as tasty as they once remembered it.


Brennan's of Houston

Location: Houston
Chef: Danny Trace
Dish: Trace utilizes catfish to create dishes that embody Brennan’s of Houston’s signature “Texas Creole” cuisine, such as the Crispy Texas Catfish Salad with warm red bean and rice salad, Anahuac honey-glazed cornbread, pickled okra tartar sauce and charred tomato vinaigrette. Other favorites include Trace’s Texas Catfish Koo-Be-Yahn, a take on the Cajun-style Courtbouillon, made with Creole spiced shrimp, Acadian style Courtbouillon sauce and a side of toasted garlic Jazzmen rice.