I didn’t grow up around catfish. I’m a city girl. And I don’t really care for fried food if I’m being honest. I worked for Cooking Light magazine for 15 years, so when I think of fish, I think of it light, and grilled. Fresh and flaky. I thought catfish only came fried. With hushpuppies. Number one. How wrong I was. Number two. Fried catfish with hushpuppies is DELICIOUS!
When I came to work at Harvest Select I honestly didn’t know what to expect or have any idea how much I’d learn about my namesake fish…(my friends have taken to calling me Katfish ever since the new job). I have learned that catfish is super versatile, in terms of all the ways it can be prepared. And I’ve learned that the way that we raise it here makes me appreciate it like never before. Catfish is cool.
My second day here, I visited the plant in Uniontown, Alabama. I saw the ponds firsthand, where the catfish are raised. I watched the fish come out of the pond (actual fisherman…not machinery.) Fresh, aerated ponds. Natural clay-bottomed ponds. Nature abundant all-around…(skunk encounter, check. Snake encounter, check.) The fish went straight into the plant and I watched these amazing, hard-working people, filleting the fish, cleaning them, weighing them…and within 45 minutes, the very fish I saw alive, coming out of the pond, were frozen and packaged. It was a buttoned up operation that left my mouth hanging open. Like Willy Wonka only…um…different.
It truly made me appreciate AMERICAN raised products. I saw for myself, true quality…something simple and pure, that I feel great about feeding my family. A few days later someone at the office fried up some of that fish, along with hushpuppies and slaw…all the fixins’ and oh my. I threw out the old “no fried food for me” mantra, for the day. It was WOWZA good. And fresh and flaky and delicious. And I have found loads of amazing recipes for ways to prepare it that aren’t fried (check out our Facebook page) and we are developing more…
I’ll tell you the REAL facts and process over time, but I thought I’d share it from the “newbies” perspective. Not everyone gets to visit a catfish plant…and let me tell you…it’s inSEIN (that’s a fish term:) I’ll explain later.)