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Today is October 24, 2021

Featured Cookbook

Catfish month celebrates food and indutry impace

By Susan Collins-Smith

Farm-raised catfish is popular on dining tables all over the country, and it’s an important agricultural commodity in Mississippi.

In fact, August is National Catfish Month — a time to celebrate the food, the industry and its importance to the economy.

When people think of cooking catfish, they think about deep-frying. But that’s just one way to enjoy this versatile fish.

“Enjoying fried catfish occasionally can be part of a nutritious diet, but catfish can be seasoned and cooked many ways,” said Qula Madkin, Extension instructor and registered dietitian with the Mississippi State University Extension Service. “I encourage people to try some different recipes to add to their family favorites.”

Broiling, grilling and baking all can be ways to enjoy catfish with less added fat. “Panfrying uses oil but not as much as deep-frying,” she said.

Summer is a great time to try out this grilled catfish recipe from the Catfish Institute.



Mississippi catfish farmers lead the nation in production, growing more than half of U.S. farm-raised catfish on 35,300 acres. In 2019, the state’s catfish industry had a production value of $226 million, according to the U.S. Department of Agriculture National Agricultural Statistical Service. Here are a few more interesting industry facts:

• The commercial, farm-raised catfish industry began in the U.S. in the 1960s but expanded quickly in the 1980s and 1990s.

• Ninety-four percent of the nation’s production acreage is located in Mississippi, Alabama and Arkansas.

• Mississippi is ranked No. 1 in volume of production and has held this spot since the late 1980s.

• Production takes place in two areas of the state: the Delta and east-central Mississippi.

• Delta ponds are filled with water from the Mississippi River alluvial aquifer from wells ranging from 50 to 250 feet deep. Ponds in east-central Mississippi are filled by pumping water from nearby streams or other surface water.

• Catfish is the largest single species in terms of aquacultural production in the U.S. Other species of U.S. farm-raised fish and seafood include trout, tilapia, salmon and shrimp.


Grilled Citrus Rosemary Catfish


4 U.S. farm-raised catfish fillets

1/2 fresh lemon per fillet

Salt and pepper to taste


Juice and zest of 1 lime

Zest of 1 lemon

Zest of 1 orange

6 ounces pineapple juice

1/2 cup brown sugar

1 tablespoon fresh rosemary, chopped

1/4 teaspoon salt


Preheat grill.

To make the citrus sauce, combine all ingredients in a small saucepan. Bring to boil; reduce heat and simmer 5 minutes.

Place catfish in a shallow dish and squeeze ó fresh lemon over each. Sprinkle with salt and freshly ground black pepper. Let sit 5 minutes.

Place catfish fillets on the grill skin side up for 3 to 4 minutes. Flip over and grill 2 to 3 more minutes. Transfer catfish to serving plate and spoon warmed citrus sauce over fillets.

Serves 4.


Find more recipes on the Catfish Institute website at Susan Collins-Smith is a writer for the Mississippi State University Extension Service.

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