Try catfish nuggets!
Do you like fish? Do you not like the price tag on fish? You may want to check out catfish nuggets. These guys are an incredibly affordable fish option that seems to be in most of our local stores in the Lehigh Valley. When I say affordable, I mean you can buy a package of farm raised catfish nuggets for about 2 dollars, and feed a family with it. That undercuts pretty much any other fish I can think of except MAYBE tilapia. They may not be as pretty as filets, but they’re also not nearly so expensive.
I found these guys as a fluke while they were on sale at Giant for 1.27 for a large pack of nuggets, and that pack fed Jen and I for two days – that’s 4 meals, for 1.27 (plus some cash for bread crumbs). That’s about 32 cents a meal. Who said eating healthy has to be expensive?
The Noble Catfish
Catfish are often considered to be a “junk” fish by many people. Ask any avid fisherman and he will tell you that the best thing to do when you realize that you have a catfish on the line is just cut the line. They’re tough buggers, especially when you consider that they have extremely sharp barbs on either side of their body which can do some nasty damage to a fleshy human. Because of this, these guys are in no danger of being overfished, unlike some other more popular fishes. They also won’t be winning any beauty contests, so you won’t see them getting rounded up to be put in little Bobby’s fish tank.
Like carp, they are a bottom feeder, which means they suck in the muck that goes to the bottom of whatever body of water they’re living in. While that sounds gross, it also means that all of the vitamins, minerals, and nutrients that are in that dirt from other things that have fallen to the bottom are being taken into their bodies constantly. Its like eating a fish that has been fed fertilizer all of its life – its super nutritious.
Health Benefits of Catfish Nuggets
Catfish is a flavorful fish, to put it gently. You may want to try it at a restaurant if you’re not sure if its your thing or not. If you like really mild fishes, you may want to steer clear. I personally love it, so its never been an issue. Plus the health benefits are fantastic.
Like all fish, catfish is high in complete protein, so it has all amino acids that your body needs to build muscle and keep itself running. It is also low in calories – approximately 122 calories for a 3-oz serving. At 3.1 grams of fat (2 grams saturated) it will keep you feeling full after eating it. Speaking of fats, like all fish its a great source of Omega-3 and Omega-6 fatty acids – what your doctor calls “good fats.” Another bonus is that catfish tends to be very high in vitamin B-12, so it’ll help keep your metabolism running smoothly and keep you feeling energetic.
Compared to many other fish, catfish is relatively low in mercury, too. Mercury tends to be in higher concentrations the higher up the food chain a fish sits. Big fish eat lots of little fish, and those little fish each contain a trace amount of mercury. That adds up to a big fish with lots of mercury. That’s the downside of eating things like tuna and shark – really high mercury levels.
So what can you do with catfish nuggets?
Glad you asked! Jen and I like to make breaded catfish nuggets, and then serve them with a stoneground mustard and honey dipping sauce. Another option is to use them in a gumbo, or fish stew. The stronger flavor lends itself very well to soups and stews, especially in Creole style cooking. Another thing that’s on our list is blackened catfish nuggets keeping with the Creole theme. We’d also like to try making sushi with them sometime down the road. A big plus is you rarely have to worry about bones since the nuggets are basically a filet which has been carved up.
So the next time you would like a healthful fish that is cheap, filling, and nutritious, check out some catfish nuggets at your local fishmonger.