Since they were first introduced into the Chesapeake Bay, the blue catfish population has increased dramatically. This invasive species was first introduced into our waters during the 1970s and is now prolific throughout the Chesapeake Bay watershed. In 2018 there was an estimated 500 million pounds of blue catfish in the bay. Due to lack of awareness among chefs and consumers, local watermen and processors have not been able to use this species at a high enough number to mitigate their impact on other Chesapeake Bay mainstays like blue crab, rockfish, and oysters.
“Blue catfish poses a major threat to our populations of blue crab, rockfish, oysters and more,” said Agriculture Secretary Joe Bartenfelder. “Lucky for us, this flaky white fish tastes great and may be controlled with an increase in consumption. That is why it is so important for us to increase demand among local chefs and consumers.”
Catching and eating blue catfish is one tasty way to reduce the numbers of this invasive fish. Blue catfish caught from the Chesapeake Bay is often compared to rockfish in taste and texture and can be cooked in a variety of different ways such as frying or baking.
Try out one of our blue catfish recipes below!
Blue Catfish Ceviche
An invasive species that is downright tasty!!
- 1 ½ Grapefruit juiced
- Zest of ½ Grapefruit
- 3 limes juiced
- Zest of 1 lime
- 1 Tbsp granulated sugar
- 1 Tbsp Chopped cilantro
- 1 lb of the freshest Blue Catfish available
Combine all ingredients in a gallon sized resealable bag.
Shake to combine.
Cut Catfish into 1” thick cubes.
Marinate for exactly 4 hours.
Cut a cube in half to determine doneness.
Catfish is fully cooked when evenly opaque throughout.
Blue Catfish Escabeche
- 1 lb sea blue catfish fillets cut into 2” wide pieces
- ¼ cup corn flour
- Vegetable oil for frying
- 1 small red bell pepper sliced thin
- 1 sweet onion peeled, halved and thinly sliced
- Zest of 1 Meyer lemon
- Pat the blue catfish dry ¼ cup Meyer lemon juice
- ¼ cup rice vinegar
- 2 Tbsp sugar
- 3 sprigs fresh thyme stems removed
- 3 bay leaves
- Salt & freshly ground pepper to taste
Pat the fish dry with paper towels, then season.
Put the flour in a shallow bowl and dust all of each filet with the flour.
In a heavy bottomed pot, add 1” of vegetable oil and heat until the oil reaches 360 degrees F.
Prepare wire rack by lining with 2 sheets of paper towels.
Fry the catfish in batches and drain on the paper towel lined rack.
Add the bell pepper, onions, lemon zest and juice, vinegar, sugar, bay and thyme to a bowl and stir to combine.
Salt and pepper to taste.
Place the warm fried fish in a shallow non-reactive container such as a glass baking dish and pour the vegetables and marinade over the top of the fish, making sure to cover it evenly with the onion and bell pepper mixture.
Refrigerate overnight and serve at room temperature with a salad or crusty bread.