There are several methods and recipes for frying fish in the south. Some people pan fry, some deep fry, some use flour and cornmeal mixed, some use just cornmeal, some dip in egg and milk first and on and on. It's up to the individual tastes and probably how you were raised eating it. Personally, I soak my fish in buttermilk first and I only batter with cornmeal and seasonings. If you dip the fish in an egg dip and batter with flour and cornmeal mixed, it gives it a heavier batter. I prefer a lighter, crispier coating that just the cornmeal alone gives. I also like to deep fry instead of pan frying. Deep frying cooks the fish quickly and they don't absorb much of the grease at all. If you pan fry, they lay in the grease longer and to me, seem greasier. I don't do greasy when it comes to fried food and especially fish. Here is what you will need:
Cornmeal ( I prefer White Lily), buttermilk, Tabasco sauce, Cajun seasoning, Old Bay seasoning, black pepper, salt, and about 2 lbs. catfish fillets.
Place the catfish fillets in a mixing bowl and cover with buttermilk. Put several dashes of Tabasco sauce in this and mix around. This is optional and the heat cooks out. It just gives it a good flavor, but not heat. Chill in the fridge for at least an hour. This catfish has no fishy flavor really at all but even if it did, the buttermilk neutralizes it completely.
In a Ziplock bag or a bowl with a tight fitting lid, mix 2 cups cornmeal with 1 tsp. salt, 1 tsp. black pepper, 1 tsp. Old Bay Seasoning, and 1 tsp. Cajun seasoning (I use Tony Chachere's). Shake it up to mix all of it good. While mixing this, start heating your oil. If you are using a deep fryer with a temperature control, heat to 375 degrees. I use my Fry Daddy and it stays right around that temperature. Be sure the oil is good and hot. If it is not at the right temperature, the fish will absorb the oil too much and be greasy, if it is too hot, it will brown on the outside too fast and not cook on the inside.
Place 5 or 6 of the fish pieces in the bowl or bag and seal. Shake around to coat well on all sides. Drop carefully in the oil. I use canola oil, but you can use vegetable oil or peanut oil also...whatever you prefer.
Turn the fish over about once to be sure to brown on both sides. Don't turn too much because it will knock your batter off. This cornmeal batter stays on the fish better than a heavier batter though. When it's brown on both sides, remove to paper towel lined platter to drain. Repeat until all of the fish is fried.
2lbs. catfish fillets
2 cups cornmeal (might need more, if the meal mixture becomes wet just add a cup more into the bag)
1 tsp. salt
1 tsp. pepper
1 tsp. Old Bay seasoning
1 tsp. Cajun seasoning
dash of Tabasco sauce
oil for frying
No southern fish fry is complete without hushpuppies. This is a simple, but really good recipe for hush puppies.
1/2 cup self rising flour
1 1/2 cup self rising corn meal
1 cup buttermilk
1/2 tsp. baking soda
1/2 tsp. salt
dash of Old Bay seasoning (optional)
1 Tbs. grated sweet onion
Mix all together and drop by teaspoon full into the same oil you cooked fish in . When they are brown on one side, carefully roll them over and brown on the other side. Remove to the paper towel lined platter around the fish.
Southern Fried Catfish and Hushpuppies!