Growing up in the Chesapeake Bay area, we are taught from a young age different initiatives to help in preserving the bay. Recently, after speaking with Steve Callahan, the Global Seafood Gulf Port Buyer for Whole Foods, I learned that blue catfish is available Nationwide in all Whole Foods Markets. Coming from Maryland, I knew a bit about blue catfish, and Steve was able to refresh my memory a bit; it was first introduced to the James River in the 1970’s for sport fishing, and quickly began migrating around the Bay’s tributaries to areas that it was not really meant to, growing in population along the way, and disrupting the fragile ecosystem that is the Chesapeake Bay. Blue crabs and striped bass were some of the species effected (and we all know that in Maryland, you don’t mess with our crabs). All of this meant, however, that blue catfish were now in abundance, and considered an invasive species, thus actually making them sustainable. Now available around the United States, this incredibly affordable white fish is my favorite choice for dinner– its meaty, yet subtle in flavor, making it quite versatile in preparation. Broil it, grill it, or pan-fry it in butter, as I do here. I particularly love to eat it with this super simple mint pesto pea and potato salad; its particularly great with the warmer weather, though I think it would hold up quite nicely in a fish stew come winter. My favorite thing about this blue catfish? In buying it, I feel like, even though I’m not living in Maryland, I’m still doing something little to help save the bay. Buy blue catfish fresh for dinner from your local Whole Foods Market.
- 4 tbsp. unsalted butter
- Kosher salt and freshly ground black pepper, to taste
- 4 (6-oz.) boneless, skinless, blue catfish pieces
- 1 lemon, cut into wedges, for serving
- Pesto Potato Salad, for serving
- Melt butter in a 12″ skillet over medium-high heat; season catfish with salt and pepper. Cook, flipping once, until golden and cooked through, 3–4 minutes. Serve with lemon wedges and Pesto Potato Salad, for serving.