If you go fishing in a steam or lake and catch a mud cat, then you will be in for an unpleasant dining experience. They are bottom feeders, and they taste like what they eat.
But the catfish you can buy at the fish market is different thing. They are pond-raised under strict conditions. The veterinarians even get involved. The feed they eat floats so there is no mud involved.
Another great fact about Mississippi farm-raised catfish is that it is inexpensive. The last time I checked Desporte and Sons it was $4 a pound. That is about four filets, so it is a good deal. Add that to the fact that the meat is delicious and flakey white, and you have something really good to eat.
If you know me, then you know what is coming next. No matter the quality of the fish you buy, you will ruin it if you overcook it. Fish should always be moist and tender. If you are not sure how to tell when it is done, cut a filet in half, and take a look.
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The folks over in the Delta assure me that Simmons Catfish, from Yazoo City, is the best. I toured the processing plant and was much-impressed. Give Simmons a try if you get the chance.