I live in an area that has some of the best catfishing in the world. Here, they are considered a garbage fish, and no one eats them. I think I would like to try them. What are the best ways to prepare a catfish?
Dredging in lightly salted cornmeal and then frying (shallow frying is fine, but deep frying is magical) is an absolute classic in the Southern US, where catfish eating is big. I usually just put the plain filets in the cornmeal without first dipping in egg or milk. I don't think it's necessary--though I'd go with milk if I were forced to use something. After dredging, I let them sit on a wire rack for a minute or so before frying to set the cornmeal (which I would do if using egg or milk also).
Generally, though, most treatments that work for a mild, tender white fish will work. Recipes for flounder or sole (Sole a la Meuniere for example), or ones that look for rockfish or striped bass will work really well.
Bear in mind that catfish does have a distinctive flavor, though it's not really strong. Some people don't care for it, and they tend to describe it as "muddy" tasting. Personally, I don't see it. If you like the catfish OK, but find the flavor intrusive in some applications, adding spicyness or acid (lemon juice, vinegar) will mute it.
If you take the catfish steaks and wash and pat dry. If you want to flavour the fish you can rub some turmeric, chilli and coriander over it. Heat some vegetable oil in a frying pan and then cook for a couple of minutes until lightly brown. You can then drain on a bit of kitchen paper. Easy peasy and versatile.
Very easy, but delicate. Get a stoneware pan, add little oil of your choice, wash catfish with vinegar or lemons or limes, it mutes that flavour you don't like. Season it and microwave for just 90-120 seconds, then fry in pan. Alternatively, my favorite is when I wash the fish with lemons/lime/vinegar, I season the fish to my desired taste, wrap generously in foil paper, turn every 5 minutes for about 20 minutes, test. Oh my, you should see the juicy moist and tender fillets. Ready to eat in less than 30 minutes. Use moderate heat. Catfish is a spice loving fish so spice enough if you are a spice lover.
The best method to prepare catfish is to keep the catfish alive until you're ready to fillet it. The 2nd best is to be sure the fish was kept sufficiently chilled from the moment it died until the moment you're ready to prepare it. Cut the skin off instead of peeling it off. Remove any yellow or brown areas of the fillet. Cut away any large veins. Then follow your favorite recipe.
If you do these things, the fish should never taste muddy. Some people soak the fillets in cola or milk to remove the muddy taste, but I haven't found this necessary since I started using only fresh fish.