(Photo by Kathy Dixon, Virginia Farm Bureau)
I love to support
farmers in any way that I can. And it’s even better when supporting them means eating something that I’ve been craving. Virginia
I wrote an article several years ago about a newly formed group called the
Virginia Aqua-Farmers Network LLC. VAN is a cooperative that was created to increase the buying and selling power of aquaculture producers. Virginia
Specifically, the group helps aqua-farmers who are raising catfish, rainbow trout, hybrid striped bass and freshwater prawns.
Two weeks ago I received notification that VAN chairman Dr. Lynn Blackwood would be at my local farmers’ market with catfish, rainbow trout and freshwater prawns for sale. So that Saturday, I hopped on my bike, pedaled to the market and bought a couple of pounds of farm-raised catfish.
August just happens to be National Catfish Month, so I thought I’d celebrate with a catfish dinner. It was delicious, and I suggest you do the same!
I dredge the fish in buttermilk seasoned with a couple of drops of hot sauce and then coat them with a mixture of blackened seasoning, flour and crushed Ritz crackers before pan-frying them. You might want to try one of these recipes from the
Virginia Natural Fish Co., the name under which VAN products are marketed.
¾ cup yellow cornmeal
¼ cup flour
2 teaspoons salt
1 teaspoon cayenne pepper
¼ teaspoon garlic powder
4 catfish fillets
Combine the first five ingredients. Coat the catfish with the dry mixture, shaking off any excess. Fill a deep pot or 12" skillet half-full with vegetable oil, and heat the oil to 350°. Add the catfish in a single layer and fry until golden brown, about 5 to 6 minutes, depending on size. Remove and drain on paper towels. Makes 4 servings.
Baked Lemon Catfish
2 tablespoons butter, melted
2 tablespoons lemon juice
¼ cup dry breadcrumbs
¾ teaspoon lemon pepper seasoning
½ teaspoon seasoned salt
¼ teaspoon dried dill
4 catfish fillets
Preheat oven to 350°. In a pie plate, combine butter and lemon juice; set aside. In another pie plate, combine the next four ingredients. Wash the fillets and pat dry with paper towels. Dip each fillet in the butter mixture, then in the breadcrumb mixture. Place in an ungreased 12"x8"x2" baking dish. Pour the remaining butter mixture over the fillets and sprinkle lightly with paprika. Bake, uncovered, for 25 to 30 minutes or until fish begins to flake when tested with a fork. Makes 4 servings.