Before the 1960s, the only folks who had sampled catfish were fishing-minded southerners. But when a series of crop failures motivated Mississippi soybean farmers to try farming the hardy, versatile fish in the 1970s, they quickly moved out of southern kitchens and into supermarkets and restaurants nationwide. Since 1980, catfish production has gone from less than 20,000 tons per year to more than 250,000 tons. Americans actually now eat more catfish than cod!

Although catfish can taste slightly “muddy,” the result of blue-green algae, the overall quality of farmed catfish is remarkably consistent. In the wild, channel catfish can reach 50 pounds or more, but most commercially farmed varieties average between 2 and 3 pounds.

Availability: Year Round

Origin: Farm Raised, Texas; Our Catfish is growth-hormone free and comes from Bower’s Shrimp and Fish in Palacios, TX, a sustainable, zero-waste aquaculture facility.

Texture and Flavor: Pinkish white, firm but tender, sweet, high fish oil content

Cooking Methods: Deep fry, pan fry, blacken, grill, bake

Substitutes: Tilapia, Grouper, Striped Bass