Wednesday, June 15, 2011

Wednesday’s Helping: Catfish

Volumes of possibility for this fishy character

More than 2,000 varieties of these stout-bodied freshwater fish exist throughout the world. Fishermen look for the cat whisker-like barbells that grow out from the upper jaw, snout, or chin of each specimen. Each species has at least one pair of these appendages. Catfish aka bull head, wolfish, and mudcat are relatives of minnows and carp that belong to the order of Siluriformes. Size ranges from the smallest at 1.5 inch and the largest measured at more than 14 feet long depending on the different breeds. Most catfish thrive as bottom feeders and scavengers in their habitats. Catfish taste tends to vary and food experts can disagree on its flavor qualities. Farm-raised catfish contributes to this ingredient becoming more widely available on the market. Cooks may bake, fry, steam, grill, or boil this whitefish. Central European countries treat catfish as a delicacy that’s often served on holidays. Meanwhile, Americans, especially in the South, like breading and deep frying this fish. Catfish are good sources of Vitamin D, which can prevent osteoporosis and hypertension.

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