This Southern Fried Catfish is golden brown on the outside and flaky and delicious on the inside. Seasoned through and through, it’s the perfect recipe for when you want a good piece of fried fish.
Fried fish is a staple among the Black community in the United States and it’s a vital part of African-American culinary traditions. Many celebrations call for a fish fry where pieces of fish are seasoned and deep-fried until golden brown. Not only does this tradition calls for some delicious piping hot fish to be served, but there is also a form of unity and connection that comes along with it.
Prep Time: 40mins
Cook Time: 5mins
Servings: 6 people
- 1 lb Catfish filleted with skin removed
- 1.5 cups buttermilk or milk optional
- oil for deep frying
- ½ cup hot sauce
- ¾ cup very fine cornmeal
- ½ cup all-purpose flour
- 1 teaspoon Old Bay Seasoning
- ½ teaspoon salt
- ½ teaspoon black pepper
- ½ teaspoon paprika
- If soaking your catfish filets, start by adding the filets in a flat container and covering them with buttermilk or milk. Allow the filets to soak for 45 minutes to an hour.
- Next, add about 4-5 inches of oil in a heavy-bottomed pot and heat over medium-high heat until the temperature of the oil reaches 350 degrees Fahrenheit. You will want to use a deep-frying thermometer to monitor the temperature of the oil.
- While the oil is heating, create a dredging station. In one shallow bowl, add the hot sauce. In another shallow bowl, add cornmeal, all purpose flour, Old Bay Seasoning, paprika, salt and pepper and whisk to combine.
- Remove the filets from the milk mixture and shake off any excess buttermilk. Dip the fillets into the hot sauce mixture, and then into the seasoned cornmeal mixture, shaking off any excess cornmeal. Place fillets on a plate until the oil has reached the desired temperature.
- Once the oil has reached the correct temperature, gently drop the catfish fillets into the hot oil. Be careful not to cause any oil splatter. Fry each filet for about 3-4 minutes, until the fillets are golden brown.
- Remove the filets with a slotted spoon and lay them on a wire rack or paper towels.
- Serve the filets as is or season with additional salt and pepper.
Larger wild-caught catfish will sometimes have a muddy aftertaste. Soak those filets in milk or buttermilk to remove the muddy taste.
Do not overcrowd the pot when frying. Fry only 2-3 filets at a time.