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Classic Fried Catfish with Hushpuppies and Tartar Sauce

Classic Fried Catfish with Hushpuppies and Tartar SauceThis is Southern comfort food at its best — crispy fried cornmeal breaded catfish fillets served with hot hushpuppies and a homemade tartar sauce.

Recipe Ingredients:

Tartar Sauce:
1 cup mayonnaise
2 teaspoons Dijon mustard
3 tablespoons sweet pickles, finely chopped
2 tablespoons capers, chopped
3 tablespoons green onions (use white bulb of onion), finely chopped; reserve green leaves for making hushpuppies)
2 teaspoons lemon juice
1 tablespoon fresh parsley, chopped
Salt and ground black pepper to taste

1 1/2 cups self-rising cornmeal
1/2 cup self-rising flour
1 tablespoon granulated sugar
1 teaspoon salt
1/4 cup jalapeños, finely chopped (optional)
4 green onions, thinly sliced
1 cup buttermilk
1 large egg, beaten
1/2 cup sharp cheddar cheese, shredded

Fried Catfish:
4 U.S. Farm-Raised Catfish Fillets
3/4 cup yellow cornmeal
1/4 cup all-purpose flour
2 teaspoons salt
1 teaspoon cayenne pepper
1/4 teaspoon garlic powder
Vegetable oil for frying

Cooking Directions:

  1. For Hushpuppies: Preheat oil to 350°F (175°C).
  2. Combine cornmeal, flour, sugar and salt. Mix well.
  3. In a separate bowl, combine jalapeños, onions, buttermilk, egg and cheese. Add to dry ingredients, stirring until just moistened. Cover with plastic wrap and let rest for 15 minutes.
  4. Drop batter by heaping teaspoons into heated oil and fry, turning hushpuppies to cook evenly, until golden brown.
  5. For Tartar Sauce: mayonnaise, mustard, pickles, capers, green onions, lemon juice and parsley. Mix well. Add salt and pepper. Chill before serving to allow the flavors to marry.
  6. For Fried Catfish: Combine cornmeal, flour, salt, cayenne pepper and garlic powder.
  7. Coat catfish with mixture, shaking off excess. Fill a large, heavy skillet half full with vegetable oil. Heat to 350° F.
  8. Add catfish in a single layer, and fry until golden brown, 5 to 6 minutes, depending on size.
  9. Remove fish from oil and drain on paper towels.
  10. Serve with Hushpuppies and Tartar Sauce.

Makes 4 servings.

Recipe and photograph provided courtesy of The Catfish Institute.