Featured Image - Fried Catfish

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Our family has always enjoyed fishing in the spring and summer. Here’s an easy recipe for Fried Catfish to use at a weekend fish-fry for your family.

Serve Catfish with Tarter Sauce or Shrimp Sauce

(Post modified with new photos on 6/26/23.)

When it comes to preparing freshwater fish, I will almost always choose a frying method over baking or even grilling, as some may do. It’s how I ate it as a girl, and it’s still my preferred way. Sometimes, I will deep fry small pieces of fish in a batter. But for catfish, I almost always fry it in a cast iron skillet, which is how my husband (and my dad) likes it best.

 

Freshwater Fishing (Pond Fishing)

When my husband and I were first married, we went fishing often in the spring, before the ticks and chiggers became too much of a bother. I loved to fish in my grandma’s pond, where we were almost guaranteed to catch a nice-sized bass.

Fishing for Catfish

When our daughters grew old enough to join us, we took them on outings. At that point, my husband spent more time untangling fishing line and bating hooks than fishing. As the years passed, we fished less and less.

These days, we get our fresh fish from my husband’s uncle who is retired and does a LOT of fishing. He supplies us with all the fish we can eat. And we always enjoy the bounty he brings.

Recently, my husband and one of our son-in-laws took our grandchildren fishing in my grandma’s old pond. They didn’t catch the “big bass” of old, but they caught a lot of tiny fish and it was fun for the kiddos. I miss our days of fishing. Maybe one of these weekends, I’ll talk hubby into taking me out for a fishing adventure. We’ll see if this old girl can still put a worm on a hook and catch a big one. That would be fun, wouldn’t it?

Catfish Served on Blue Willow Serving Tray

Until then I’ll settle for cooking fried catfish in my kitchen and serving it to our loved ones.

 

More Fish Recipes

 

Ingredients to Make Fried Catfish

(See the full recipe at the bottom of this post.)

  • fillet catfish (about 2 pounds)
  • bottle of dark ale beer
  • yellow cornmeal
  • all-purpose flour
  • Peanut oil for deep frying
  • kosher salt and freshly ground black pepper for seasoning

Homemade Tarter Sauce

  • salad dressing (like Miracle Whip)
  • sweet relish

 

A Few Tips about Frying Fish

Rid Gaminess by Soaking Fish in Beer

Because catfish can sometimes have a “gamey wild” taste, I like to soak it in beer for 30-60 minutes before frying. I prefer a dark ale, but you can use any beer that you have on hand. This helps to remove any undesirable flavor.

Cut your fish into whatever size you prefer. If I am deep frying the fish (for fish tacos), I will cut fish into 2-3″ pieces, which cook quickly. However, if I’m frying the fish in a cast iron skillet, I will use larger pieces.

 

Instructions for Making This Recipe

Ingredients for this Recipe

Gather your ingredients so that you have everything close at hand on the counter or table.

 

Prepare the Fish

On a cutting board, slice fish into desired lengths. 

Place in a shallow bowl. Pour beer over fish and allow to soak for 30-60 minutes before cooking.

 

Make the Homemade Tarter Sauce

While the fish is soaking, prepare the homemade tarter sauce. Spoon salad dressing into a small serving bowl. Add sweet relish and stir to mix.

If you prefer a tarter sauce that is less sweet, you may substitute real mayonnaise for the salad dressing, and dill relish for the sweet. 

Place Soaked Fish into Cornmeal Mix

Using a gallon bag, combine cornmeal, all-purpose flour, and Cajun spice. Mix well. See my recipe for Cajun Spice Mix Here.

Place Fish in Bag and Shake

Place pieces of strained fish into the cornmeal mixture. Toss until fish is well coated.

 

Fry the Fish

Preheat enough peanut oil in a cast iron skillet or Dutch oven for frying, between 1 and 4 inches.

When oil has reached the proper temperature to ensure crispness (at least 375 degrees), add 10-12 pieces of fish at a time. Cook for 3-4 minutes until a deep golden brown on both sides.

Remove fish with a spatula or wire strainer and place on paper towels to soak up excess oil. Sprinkle fish with kosher salt and freshly ground black pepper as desired.

Fried Catfish that has been deep fat fried

If needed, return oil to cooking temperature and repeat until all of the fish has been fried. This recipe will serve 4-6 people.

Serve Fried Catfish with Homemade Tarter Sauce

I like to dip my fish in a homemade tarter sauce of salad dressing and sweet relish. My husband likes it with shrimp sauce. Serve Fried Catfish with Fried Okra Bites,  Pan Fried Country Potatoes, Coleslaw and/or Macaroni and Cheese.

See more Fish and Seafood Recipes Here. Browse Main Dishes Here. View Fried Foods Here.

 

Featured Image - Fried Catfish

Fried Catfish

Our family has always enjoyed fishing in the spring and summer. Here's an easy recipe to use for a weekend fish-fry for your family.
Prep Time 15 minutes
Cook Time 20 minutes
Soaking Time: 1 hour
Total Time 1 hour 35 minutes
Serving Size 6

Ingredients

  • 2 pounds fillet catfish cut into 2" pieces
  • 1 bottle dark ale beer
  • 1 1/2 cups yellow cornmeal
  • 1 cup all-purpose flour
  • 2-3 tablespoons Cajun spice See Recipe Here
  • Peanut oil for deep frying
  • salt and pepper for seasoning

Homemade Tarter Sauce

  • 1 cup salad dressing (like Miracle Whip)
  • 1/2 cup sweet relish

Instructions

  • Gather the ingredients so you have everything close at hand on the counter or table.

Prepare the Fish

  • On a cutting board, slice fish into desired lengths. If I am deep frying the fish (for fish tacos), I will cut fish into 2-3" pieces. However, if I'm frying the fish in a cast iron skillet, I will use bigger pieces.
  • Place the fish in a shallow bowl. Pour dark ale beer over fish and allow to soak for 30-60 minutes before cooking.

Make the Tarter Sauce

  • While the fish is soaking, prepare the homemade tarter sauce. Spoon salad dressing in a small serving bowl.
  • Stir in sweet relish until combined.
  • (If you prefer a tarter sauce that is less sweet, you may substitute real mayonnaise for the salad dressing, and a dill relish in place of sweet.)

Fry the Fish

  • Using a gallon bag, combine cornmeal, all-purpose flour, and Cajun spice. Mix well. Place pieces of strained fish into the flour. Toss until fish is well coated.
  • Preheat enough oil in a cast iron skillet or Dutch oven for frying, between 1-4 inches.
  • When oil has reached the proper temperature (375 degrees), add 10-12 pieces of fish at a time, being careful not to overcrowd. Cook for 3-4 minutes until a deep golden brown on both sides.
  • Remove fish with a spatula or wire strainer and place on paper towels to soak up excess oil. Sprinkle fish with salt and pepper as desired.
  • If needed, return oil to cooking temperature and repeat until all of the fish has been fried. Serves 4-6.

Nutrition

Calories: 730kcal | Carbohydrates: 60g | Protein: 32g | Fat: 39g | Saturated Fat: 7g | Polyunsaturated Fat: 14g | Monounsaturated Fat: 15g | Trans Fat: 0.03g | Cholesterol: 88mg | Sodium: 1013mg | Potassium: 798mg | Fiber: 5g | Sugar: 11g | Vitamin A: 1488IU | Vitamin C: 1mg | Calcium: 40mg | Iron: 3mg

 

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