Is Catfish Skin Edible? You Need to Know Something Before to Eat

Is Catfish Skin Edible

Catfish belong to the large order of the siluriform which includes 40 families along with catfish. Mostly they can be found in freshwater but there are some families who live in saltwater. This is why they are called one of the most versatile and largest groups of species alive.

Unlike other fish with scaly skin, catfish do not have scales. It has slithery skin which is not considered to be eaten by all people. However, there are also people who don’t want to waste time skinning catfish rather they cook it whole or fillet.

It is normal that you can feel uncomfortable by seeing the dark leathery skin of catfish. Whether you caught the fish or bought it from the market, the question suddenly appeared in your mind: is catfish skin edible? Yes, it’s edible but not always safe. You can consider farmed catfish skin to eat. Let’s take a look at the discussion below to know how to prepare your catfish with skin.

Is catfish skin edible or not?

Is Catfish Skin Edible

Yes, catfish skin is edible, sometimes it is safe to enjoy catfish fillets with skin, and sometimes it is unsafe.

It all depends on where the catfish came from. Due to its versatile habitat and characteristics, catfish can live in both fresh and contaminated water.

Catfishes that come from reservoirs, abandoned ponds, or any tainted sources include mercury in the skin. It is because they are bottom feeders which means they spend most of their time in the mud looking for food and absorbing mercury and contaminants. However, firm raised freshwater catfish can be taken with skin and properly cleaned.

How do you clean and fillet catfish?

You can start filleting from the upper dorsal side and run down the backbone towards the tail. Repeat the process of filleting for the second part while carefully noting that you are leaving the ribs. When done, place the fillets on a flat surface and remove unwanted parts from it.

If you are considering eating catfish skin, you must have to clean it properly. You may notice that there are some black spots on both sides of its skin. The blackspot looks literally so bad that it can make you feel unwanted to eat catfish.

Moreover, Catfish contain PCBs that pose a serious health risk to humans. Therefore, it is recommended to properly clean your catfish to discard the blackspots and reduce PCB levels. If you see any black spot in the raw catfish that you don’t want to see after cooking, then you should discard that portion using knife.

You shouldn’t eat the heads, guts, liver, and eggs of catfish and also remove the backstrap meat, belly meat from the fillets.

How to Cook Catfish with the skin?

How to Cook Catfish with the skin

If you aren’t an expert in filleting or don’t have enough time to skin catfish, you can prepare it with the skin. 

Catfish can be baked, broiled, pan fried, or microwaved but one thing to remember is scoring. Since catfish skin is rubbery, it will curl when cooking. If you score the fish skin, it will result in a perfect texture of the cooked catfish. 

Score on both sides to prevent curl and prepare your dish with seasoning to get a spicy flavor. Don’t use cornmeal crush if you are cooking catfish with skin.

How to cook catfish without skin?

Cooking process for catfish with or without skin is almost the same. However, you need to go a few more steps to skinning catfish.

Removing catfish skin seems difficult because it doesn’t have scales like other fishes. But once you have done with it, you can enjoy the mild fleshy catfish steak in any way you want. Skinned catfish are good for making nuggets. This time you can use cornmeal crush to make it crispy.

How to skin a catfish?

Skinning catfish isn’t tough if you do it in the right way. You will need some equipment such as a sharp knife and piler to perfectly skin off the catfish.

Take the knife and get started by making a small cut on both head sides, just under the hard part of its head. Run the knife around the dorsal fin or go straight by cutting it at 45 degree angle. 

Take the piler in your right hand while holding the fish head with left hand, and pull back the skin through the piler. You can see the skin is peeling without wasting any meat. In this way, you can skin catfish within 5 minutes. 

What does catfish taste like?

What does catfish taste like

Catfish are known to taste different than other fish. The taste varies from light to strong muddy taste depending on the habitat. However, firm raised catfish do not contain a muddy taste because they are grown in freshwater. Thus, they have a light sweet, moist textured feeling when cooked.

Is it good to eat catfish skin?

Yes, catfish skin is good to eat and has nutritional benefits. So, if the catfish comes from freshwater, you can consider taking it with skin. On the other hand, it can contain high levels of mercury and other heavy metals which makes it dangerous to consume.

What type of catfish you shouldn’t eat?

You shouldn’t eat catfish that comes from abandoned ponds, lakes or contaminated sources. Also, do not eat old catfish as it contains high levels of chemical contaminants. To avoid harmful chemical contaminants entering your body, you should clean catfish thoroughly before cooking.

Final thought

From the question and answer above you have already got the answer to your question ‘is catfish skin edible or not’. If you read the discussion thoroughly, you are now all set to clean, fillet, and cook catfish properly.

Just make sure that the catfish come from a reliable source and don’t contain high levels of mercury. You can use hot water to clean the fillets or segments. Finally, if you aren’t so expert in filleting, you can take someone’s help to get the job done. To get rid of unwanted muddy flavor from cooked catfish, you can soak catfish in buttermilk for 10 – 15 minutes.

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