My favorite memories of eating catfish include my grandparents. They are the only people I know who could clean the meat off a bone-in southern fried catfish with ease. One look at their finished plate and you’d think you were staring at an archeological site. My plate, on the other hand, would look like a crime scene. Just my head pressed against the plate after I choked on the little pin bones. Needless to say, I’m not too proud to go the boneless route.
Since I don’t live near a fishmonger or specialized seafood shop, I buy frozen catfish. Often the fish found at the fresh seafood station at your local grocery store is fresh fish that was frozen, driven to the store, and then defrosted to put in the display. Fish found in the freezer aisle is typically flash frozen immediately after being caught. The quality is a little better.
There are a few ways you would probably eat catfish in the south. Eat it at breakfast with grits or on a piece of white bread with yellow mustard and a couple of dashes of Texas Pete. I usually do the former with a heavy dollop of tartar sauce. This girl loves her condiments.
2-3 cups vegetable oil
1 cup all purpose flour
1 cup cornmeal
1 teaspoon garlic powder
1 teaspoon onion powder
1 teaspoon cayenne pepper
2-3 cups whole buttermilk
5 5-ounce boneless catfish filets
Southern Fried Catfish in Cornmeal Directions
1. In a 10” cast iron skillet or heavy bottomed skillet pour enough vegetable oil to fill the pan less than halfway full. Heat oil over medium high heat until a thermometer reads 350 degrees. While the oil comes to temperature, prepare the catfish dredging station.
2. Take two shallow bowls or plates and combine the flour, cornmeal and spices in one and pour the buttermilk plus a few dashes of hot sauce in the other. Wash and pat the catfish filets dry with a paper towel. One at a time, dip the catfish into the buttermilk and allow access liquid to drip off. Then dip the filet into the cornmeal mixture while shaking off the excess. Let the filets rest for about 2 to 3 minutes to allow the cornmeal to adhere to the filets.
3. Working in batches of two, add the filets to the hot skillet. Fry each side for about 5 minutes totaling 10 minutes. Drain filets on paper towels.