"Catfish is a lean fish and excellent source of protein," says Seton Outpatient Nutrition Services Senior Clinical Dietitian Wendy Morgan, RD, LD. "Its nutritional value lies in replacing saturated fat (the bad kind) and with unsaturated fat (the good kind). Replacing other protein sources such as red meat, pork or even chicken with catfish can help reduce overall saturated fat intake if it is prepared pretty much any way other than frying."
Although it contains some omega 3 fatty acids, catfish is not considered a good source like cold water fatty fish such as salmon, halibut, sardines, albacore, trout and herring. Both the American Heart Association and the American Diabetes Association recommend two servings a week of fatty fish. If your dietary goal is to get your omega 3s from fish, don't substitute catfish for salmon or halibut, but use it in addition to those choices.
Catfish often can be substituted for other types of white fish including cod, tilapia, trout or flounder in most recipes. The meat is delicate, sweet and firm. It also is an excellent source of phosphorous and vitamin B12 and a good source of potassium.
"Catfish lends itself well to most methods of cooking. A general rule of thumb for cooking fish is 10 minutes per inch of thickness no matter what method is used. For best nutrition, pick a method that doesn't add much fat such as baking, broiling, grilling or sauteing with very little oil," continues Wendy.
Seton Medical Center Austin Executive Chef Dean Quinn sent us two of his most popular catfish recipes that provide lots of flavor and very little added fat.