Do you know what three days ago was?
If you said June 25, you’d only be half-right: it’s also National Catfish Day, and no, we didn’t make this stuff up. Former President Ronald Reagan loved many things: jellybeans, his wife, the peace sign, and catfish—so here we are, 21 years later. And who could blame Reagan? Catfish is a great fish that is packed with the taste—instead of calories—and is easily prepared in a variety of ways. Here are just a few ways the delicious catfish is worth celebrating:
- Fried Catfish is easily a favorite Southern dish: simply take your catfish, batter it, and let it fry. Recommended sides include hush puppies, coleslaw, and mashed potatoes. For a healthier fried version, skip the fryer and take to the oven: batter the fish and bake for a crispy core without all of the greases.
- Cajun Catfish: Another favorite includes pairing Cajun seasoning and catfish in a delicious gumbo. Mix your cooked catfish with rice, seasoning, and a few veggies for a great spin on an old favorite. For a new twist, swap the rice for pasta, and feel free to add shrimp or chicken to compliment the flavor of the catfish.
- Catfish Creole: Similar to the gumbo, catfish creole mixes catfish, rice, but throws a tasty tomato-based sauce into the mix. There are several ways to spice up this dish, including jalapenos or hot sauce.
- Noodling: While this doesn’t involve noodles, it’s another way you can definitely enjoy the wondrous river-monster that is a catfish. The term ‘noodling’ actually means to fish for catfish using your bare hands and is a favorite in the southern United States. Take a trip down south to learn the technique behind wading into the water and reaching into catfish holes with your bare hands. Sounds thrilling, doesn’t it?
- Catfish: A television series hosted on MTV has been getting a lot of attention, although it definitely doesn’t involve the fish. Instead, their documentary and subsequent show are based on the slang term ‘catfish,’ which is a person who is pretending to be someone they are not over social media. Know any catfish in your life?
- Sports & Song: Several famous musicians and ballplayers have adopted ‘Catfish’ as their nickname. For a shortlist, let’s consider Catfish Hunter, the 1946-1999 baseball player; Catfish Collins, a guitarist; Milburn Smith, a basketball and football coach; and Vernon Smith, a football player. Even Bob Dylan had a song specifically about this delicious fish, and the Columbus baseball team decided it was the best mascot for them.
The catfish has provided us both with tasty dishes and hilarious past times in such a short time. It’s no wonder why Reagan decided it deserved its own holiday. So instead of worrying about how this will affect your diet, think about it – How will you be celebrating?