Catfish nuggets transform a salad into a meal.Stockbyte/Stockbyte/Getty Images
Whether breaded or battered, deep fried or oven fried, catfish nuggets pair well with foods that provide a light and bright contrast to their richness. The mild flavors of the fish itself give you plenty of options for side dishes. Create a Southern feast to match the traditional region where catfish has a long-standing connection, or use the nuggets as the basis for a meal inspired by anywhere in the world.
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Southern American Classics
You can't go wrong by serving foods that cooks in the South have paired with catfish nuggets for many generations. Traditional accompaniments include crunchy coleslaw, which adds a cool temperature and welcome tang to catfish, and hush puppies, or any other style of corn bread, which bring the flavors of corn to the meal. A side of collard greens, either cooked with a ham hock or in chicken stock, add some bitterness and soft texture.
Fish tacos may have originated in Baja California in Mexico, but they are now a classic of Southern California cuisine and catfish nuggets are a perfect match for the cabbage and sour cream dressing with lime juice that are part of the traditional fillings for the tacos. Add a refreshing salad with orange segments, avocados and red onions, dressed with a citrus vinaigrette. To round out the meal, serve oven-roasted sweet potatoes sprinkled with salt, pepper and smoked paprika.
Refreshing vegetables that pair well with the flavors of catfish, such as avocados, cucumbers and tomatoes, provide plenty of substance for a entree salad with catfish nuggets. Use any type of lettuce, and add cilantro leaves for a touch of bitterness and pine nuts for extra crunch. Dress the salad with a soy sauce-based dressing and add some heat with an Asian hot sauce if you would like. Serve the salad with rice crackers on the side or fried wonton strips on top.
Traveling to Italy
Give catfish nuggets an Italian twist by adding Italian herbs, such as basil and oregano, to the breading or batter when you make the nuggets, and serve them with a sun-dried tomato mayonnaise. Add whole basil leaves to a side salad dressed with balsamic vinegar — the flavor of basil goes well with catfish and brings another taste of Italy to the plate. For a vegetable, serve spinach sauteed with garlic and a few red pepper flakes.