Baking catfish nuggets is a healthy alternative to Southern-style preparations that call for battering and deep-frying the fish. While catfish has a very mild taste that is improved through deep frying, you can effectively cut down on the calories without sacrificing flavor by baking catfish nuggets in the oven. Buy the nuggets at your supermarket, or try cutting catfish fillets into bite-size pieces to create either crisp, oven-fried nuggets or butter-brushed and broiled nuggets your whole family will enjoy.
Cornmeal-Crusted Catfish Nuggets
Preheat your oven to 425 degrees Fahrenheit. Rinse the catfish nuggets or fillets with cold running water and pat dry with paper towels. If you're using fillets, cut into bite-size nuggets with a sharp knife.
In a shallow dish, add enough cornmeal to completely coat the catfish nuggets. Add a few pinches of desired seasonings like salt and pepper, garlic powder, Parmesan cheese or fresh herbs like parsley.
In a bowl, beat a few eggs with a fork until smooth. Separate the yolk from the whites and use just the egg whites if you want to reduce the calories.
Dip a catfish nugget into the beaten eggs. Next, dredge the nugget through the cornmeal mixture, coating thoroughly. Place the coated nuggets one by one on a greased baking sheet.
Bake the catfish nuggets for approximately 12 minutes on each side or until the fish flakes easily with a fork.
Remove the catfish nuggets from the oven and serve immediately with lemon wedges.
Broiled Butter-Brushed Catfish Nuggets
Preheat your oven to broil. Set an oven rack about 5 inches below the heat source. Rinse the catfish nuggets or fillets with cold running water and pat dry with paper towels. If you're using fillets, cut into bite-size nuggets with a sharp knife.
Melt a tablespoon or two of butter in a shallow dish. Brush each catfish nugget with a thin layer of olive oil, coating completely. Add seasonings to the nuggets, if desired. Try seasoning with salt and pepper, lemon zest or Italian seasonings like basil and oregano.
Place each catfish nugget onto a greased baking sheet. Set the baking sheet in the oven on the rack closest to the heat source and broil for approximately 5 minutes, or until the flesh turns white and flakes easily with a fork.
Remove from oven and serve the catfish nuggets with pasta, oven-roasted potatoes or steamed vegetables like green beans.