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Southern Fried Catfish


  • 1 pound catfish fillets cut into 1 x 3 strips
  • ½ cup buttermilk
  • ½ cup water
  • 1 teaspoon kosher salt
  • ½ teaspoon ground black pepper
  • 1 ½ cups fine yellow cornmeal
  • ½ cup all purpose flour
  • 1 teaspoon seafood seasoning such as Old Bay
  • 3 to 4 cuts vegetable oil for frying


  1. Whisk together the buttermilk, water, kosher salt and black pepper.
  2. In a separate bowl, combine the yellow cornmeal and the all purpose flour with the seafood seasoning.
  3. Dip the strips of the catfish first in the buttermilk mixture, then firmly press them into the cornmeal, covering all sides completely. Lay the strips side by side on a sheet pan and refrigerate the fish for 15 to 30 minutes. This will keep the cornmeal coating attached to the fish.
  4. Heat the vegetable oil in a heavy-bottomed pot such as a Dutch oven over medium high heat – around 375F. Put each strip of coated catfish in the hot oil by holding it with tongs. Swirl the fish a little in the oil before releasing it so that it does not sink to the bottom of the pan. If it sinks to the bottom of the pan and sticks, it will be difficult to turn without breaking the crust.
  5. Deep fry all the fillets in this manner, a few at a time, until they are golden brown on all sides, about 3 to 4 minutes. Remove them with a slotted spoon or tongs and let them drain on a wire rack or paper towels. Serve hot.