Southern Fried Catfish

Southern Fried Catfish

Did I say I didn’t eat seafood? Well, this is my Southern fried catfish recipe. I do love a good fish fry with crisp cornmeal-breaded catfish. My mother always says catfish doesn’t count because it’s “pond food, not seafood.”–Christy Jordan

LC Southern Fried Catfish Goodness Note

This is Southern fried catfish goodness, plain and simple and perfect. For purists only. [Editor’s Note: We’ve just been advised from someone born and bred in Mississippi that “If you use white corn meal to bread Catfish in Mississippi you will be escorted to the border.” Okay, so no white cornmeal in the fair state of Mississippi, it seems. Unless, like us, you’re the rebellious sort.]

Southern Fried Catfish

  • Quick Glance
  • Quick Glance
  • 15 M
  • 15 M
  • Serves 4
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Special Equipment: Deep-fry or candy or instant-read thermometer

Ingredients


Directions

Pour the oil in a large skillet to a depth of 1/2 inch and place it over medium-high heat until it registers 350°F (177°C) on a deep-fry or candy or instant-read thermometer. You want the oil to be hot but not smoking. Set out a wire rack over a baking sheet or place a brown paper bag on the counter.

Place the cornmeal in a medium bowl and stir in the salt and pepper. Dredge the fillets in the cornmeal mixture to coat on both sides.

Reduce the heat to medium. Place the fillets in the skillet and cook, turning once, until browned on both sides, 3 or more minutes per side, depending on the size of the fillets. (Be careful not to crowd the fillets. You may need to work in batches.) Transfer the fillets to the wire rack or brown paper bag.

Serve the fish hot with the lemon wedges, vinegar or hot sauce, and/or tartar sauce.

Print RecipeBuy the Come Home to Supper cookbook

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Recipe Testers' Reviews

Call me a “purist,” but this Southern fried catfish recipe is perfect. The simplicity of the recipe makes it no trouble at all to prepare, and the result is light, flavorful fried catfish that pairs perfectly with slaw and whatever other accoutrements, such as fries or hush puppies, that you serve with it. A pound of fish will serve 2 to 3 quite nicely. To make an adequate serving for a party of 4, I'd use the 1 1/2 pounds. The timing in the recipe is perfect. I fried the presentation side (bone side) first and cooked the fish with that side down in the pan, allowing it most of the 5 minutes (3 minutes bone side, 2 minutes skin side.) To avoid overcrowding in the skillet, I split the fish into a couple batches. The fish cooks so quickly that I simply covered the first batch lightly with foil while I fried the second batch. You could also hold the pieces in the oven at 200°F or so, but I really don’t think it’s necessary to turn on the oven unless you're already using it for another purpose. I wasn’t in the mood to buy or make tartar sauce, so I bought a jar of Kelchner’s Spicy Sriracha Sauce, which turned out to be a great accompaniment.

Absolutely, simply puristic—and so good ! The Southern fried catfish came out fantastic. Frying time was about 4 minutes per side and the fish was crisp on the outside, moist and tender inside. I served it with a preserved lemon and tomato relish on a bed of lentils. Yum!

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