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Papa's Fried Catfish

A Louisiana tradition, fried catfish is served simply with tartar sauce and lemon.

Cook/Prep Time: 15 Minutes
Servings: 4 to 6

  • 3 pounds wild-caught Louisiana catfish filets
  • salt, to taste
  • cayenne pepper, to taste
  • flour, as needed
  • 3/4 cup yellow cornmeal
  • 1 cup milk
  • 1 1/2 cups vegetable oil
  • 1 medium-size yellow onion, peeled and thinly sliced (separate into rings)
  • lemon wedges, for garnish
  • tartar sauce, to serve
  1. Rinse the catfish in cool water and pat dry. Season the fish generously with salt and cayenne. Combine the flour and cornmeal in a shallow bowl and season with salt and cayenne. Pour the milk into another shallow dish.
  2. Heat the oil in a large, heavy skillet to about 360ºF.
  3. Dip the catfish, 2 to 3 at a time, into the milk, then dredge in the cornmeal mixture, tapping off any excess.
  4. Let sit for about 1 minute, then fry (2 to 3 pieces at a time) in the hot oil. Cook for about 3 minutes on each side or until golden brown.
  5. Drain on paper towels. Scatter several onion rings over the fish as they cook and squeeze lemon juice over them.
  6. Repeat the process until all the fish is cooked. Serve warm with tartar sauce.
Courtesy Louisiana Cookin'