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The Fried Catfish Recipe You’ve Been Looking For

Fried Catfish
The Kitchn

Now that we’ve set our clocks back for daylight savings time, it can only mean one thing. More time to fish. Which also means it’s time to break out the fryer and host a fish fry.

If you’re like me, you already have a top secret family catfish recipe that your granddaddy shared with you when you were just knee high to a grasshopper. Or maybe you saved a recipe on Pinterest, but have never gotten around to actually making it.

Either way, trust us on this one. This is the fried catfish recipe you’ve been looking for.

Southern Fried Catfish

Adapted from The Kitchn

fried catfish
The Kitchn

What you’ll need*:

  • Catfish filets, 1/2 to 1 pound per person is a good rule of thumb
  • Milk
  • Peanut oil
  • 1/4 cup Wondra flour (or cake flour)
  • 1/3 cup yellow cornmeal
  • 1/4 cup mild hot sauce, such as Texas Pete
  • 2 teaspoons cornstarch
  • 1 tablespoon creole seasoning
  • 1 teaspoon garlic powder
  • 1/2 teaspoon of cayenne pepper
  • Salt, to taste
  • Pepper, to taste
  • Deep fryer

*Serves 4-6, but can easily be doubled or tripled

What to do:

  1. Lay the catfish filets in an even layer in a shallow dish. Pour milk over them and let soak for at least 20 minutes.
  2. Remove from milk and pat dry with paper towels.
  3. Fill deep fryer with peanut oil and heat to 350 degrees.
  4. In a shallow pan or large bowl, whisk the cornmeal, flour, cornstarch and seasonings until combined.
  5. In a second shallow pan, pour the hot sauce and set aside.
  6. Dip each filet in the hot sauce, turning to coat.
  7. Then, dip the filet into the cornmeal mixture. Be sure to coat the fish generously on all sides.
  8. Carefully drop your fish into the fryer and let cook for 3-6 minutes, or until crisp and golden brown.
fried catfish
The Kitchn

Some tips:

  • Have a baking sheet lined with paper towels or a brown paper bag waiting for when the fish comes out of the fryer.
  • Fry the fish in batches.
  • Don’t overcrowd the fryer. It could cause the oil to boil over.
  • Use a skimmer to remove the fish from the fryer. The filets could break and drop back into the oil  if using tongs.
  • Allow the oil to come back up to temperature between each batch.
  • Though it’s best served straight from the fryer, you can keep the fish warm in the oven. Leave it uncovered to prevent it from getting soggy.
  • Don’t forget the signature side dishes like french fries, hush puppies, coleslaw or maybe even onion rings.
  • Have the proper assortment of condiments ready. You’ll want hot sauce, tartar sauce, lemon wedges and pickles.

There’s only one flaw with this catfish recipe. It’s so good that your guests won’t want to leave and you’ll be left trying to figure out how to kindly kick them out.

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The Fried Catfish Recipe You’ve Been Looking For