While fresh fried catfish is delicious, reheating it leaves something to be desired. Below we’ll discuss the best ways on how to reheat fried catfish.
While aromatic when done properly, catfish is still fish, which means that if it is improperly heated, it will stink up the room, causing consternation among coworkers.
Here we’ll look at how to reheat fried catfish while providing the least odor and the most rewarding taste.
Potential Problems When Reheating Fried Catfish
There are two problems that present when reheating fried catfish.
First, as was mentioned earlier, catfish is a fish, which means that if it is reheated in a microwave, it is going to stink.
Due to the way that microwaves cook food, some of the compounds that reek inside the fish get too hot and start to smell. Additionally, because microwaves (and office break rooms) are small spaces, that tends to make things worse.
Second, even beyond the smell, catfish has two different textures.
The delicate, flakiness of the flesh does not lend itself to be reheated using the same methods as the crispy, crunchy crust.
Therefore, whatever method is used has to take this into account.
What to Avoid When You Reheat Fried Catfish?
The most common way to reheat any food is a microwave. However, that is absolutely terrible for use with catfish.
A microwave would serve to only dry out the flesh while rendering the breading into a gummy paste. Add the smell to the mix and it is clear that no one is going to be happy.
Assuming you have access to a frying pan, you might be compelled to try simply refrying it. However, this has its own disadvantages.
As frying cooks food by causing water trapped inside the fried food to turn to steam, if most of said water has already been turned to steam the first time around, it will simply cause the flesh to be dry.
While this may not be noticeable with a thin piece of fish, it just won’t taste as good.
Therefore, in order to reheat catfish, you’re going to want a method that is gentle on the flesh while helping to make sure that the crust stays crispy.
There are two methods that could excel here. The lesser of the two is a conventional oven. By setting an oven to 325 and letting the fish warm until it has reached a temperature of 160 degrees, you will minimize moisture loss while also making sure that the fish is safe to eat.
Additionally, the flesh should taste great. The only problem is that if the fish was not drained properly the first time, it could well start to get greasy. This can be somewhat mitigated by cooking on a rack.
Instead, what we think of as the best way to reheat fried catfish is by using an air fryer.
An air fryer is essentially a countertop convection oven, so you get all the advantages of a traditional oven. However, because of the fan, the crust can be expected to stay crispier.
In fact, it may even be crispier reheated using an air fryer than it was out of the oil originally! Again, you’ll want to be sure that the fish isn’t too oily.
Finally, make sure you don’t overcook the fish in an air fryer; if you do, you’ll have all the problems of microwaving, as well as an even more intense fishy smell.