How to Cook Whole Catfish in the Oven

If you're looking for a fish that's tasty, low in fat and calories, and high in protein -- and that can be prepared a number of ways -- catfish could be your answer. A 3-ounce serving of catfish contains approximately 1 gram of saturated fat, 100 calories and 13 grams of protein. While many varieties of catfish exist, restaurants and seafood markets typically offer channel catfish. Although this type of catfish is typically farm-raised, it's one of the cleanest and safest grown food proteins available in today's market, according to Southern Regional Aquaculture Center of Texas A&M. By following a few tips, you can serve a whole, oven-baked catfish as a healthy alternative to meat.


Step 1

Preheat your oven to 400 degrees Fahrenheit.

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Step 2

Rinse the catfish under cool tap water and pat it dry with paper towels.


Step 3

Cover the inside of a baking sheet with a piece of aluminum foil. Place several lemon slices and sprigs of fresh herbs, such as thyme, parsley or oregano, on the foil in the center of the baking sheet.


Step 4

Cut three 1/2-inch-deep diagonal slits on each external side of the fish, using a sharp knife. Scoring the fish helps distribute the heat so the fish cooks evenly.


Step 5

Sprinkle the outside of the entire catfish with kosher salt and then drizzle it with extra virgin olive oil. Lay the whole catfish on the baking sheet on top of the lemon slices and herbs.



Step 6

Rub the inside of the fish with kosher salt and olive oil. Place additional lemon slices and fresh herbs, along with a bay leaf, in the fish cavity. If you're a garlic lover, you can include a couple of crushed cloves with your fresh herbs.


Step 7

Close the fish and lay several thin slices of fresh lemon and additional fresh herbs on the side that's facing up.


Step 8

Bend the edges of the aluminum foil up to create a makeshift baking dish around the fish and to hold the juices that are created during cooking.

Step 9

Place the baking sheet in the preheated oven and bake until the fish is cooked thoroughly, typically up to 30 minutes for a 2- to 2 1/2-pound fish.

Step 10

Remove the baking sheet from the oven and transfer the whole catfish to a warm platter before serving.

Things You'll Need

  • Catfish, gutted and gills removed

  • Paper towels

  • Knife

  • Baking sheet

  • Aluminum foil

  • Kosher salt

  • Extra virgin olive oil

  • Lemons

  • Fresh herbs

  • Garlic

  • Platter


For additional flavor, pour a cup or two of dry, white wine into the foil baking dish before placing it in the oven.

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