Cornmeal Catfish Recipe

Experience a Southern fish fry in your kitchen. This catfish recipe goes perfect with tartar sauce and hushpuppies on the side.

From "Southern from Scratch"
July 2018

  • catfish
    Hushpuppies and tartar sauce are a classic combination to add to this catfish meal.
    Photo by Johnny Autry
  • cover
    “Southern from Scratch” by Ashley English opens up a new world of Southern cooking with over 150 recipes and ideas that incorporate classic Southern staples.
    Cover courtesy of Roost Books
  • catfish
  • cover

Total Hands-On Time: 30 min

Preparation Time: 20 min

Cook Time: 10 min

Yield: 4 servings

In Southern from Scratch: Pantry Essentials and Down-Home Recipes, Ashley English teaches readers how to build a "from-scratch" Southern pantry with 50 recipes, and offers 100 additional recipes that offer new twists to Southern favorites. This book is full of fundamental recipes and opens up a world of Southern cuisine. The following excerpt is from Chapter 5, "Dry Goods and Sundries."

The fish fry is pretty ubiquitous across the South. When I spent time in Carteret County, North Carolina, during my junior and senior years of high school, I was always seeing a flyer or poster advertising an upcoming charitable event in the form of a fish fry. What distinguishes my fry, though, is a light coating of oil, not a full deep dive (tha's reserved for the hushpuppies served alongside). And since hushpuppies and tartar sauce are as classic a combo as Fred and Ginger, Mickey and Minnie, and Dolly Parton and wigs, I'm also offering up a special sauce.


  • 1/2 cup medium-grind cornmeal
  • 1/2 cup fine-grind cornmeal
  • 1 tablespoon granulated garlic
  • 1 teaspoon sea salt
  • Freshly ground black pepper
  • 2 eggs
  • Dash of hot sauce
  • 1-1/2 pounds catfish fillets
  • Light olive or peanut oil for the pan
  • Hushpuppies, to serve


  1. Mix the medium- and fine-grind cornmeal in a shallow dish with the garlic, salt, and several grinds of pepper.
  2. Whisk the eggs with the hot sauce in a medium mixing bowl.
  3. One by one, coat the catfish fillets in the egg mixture then lightly dredge them in the cornmeal mixture. Set aside on a large plate or platter.
  4. Lightly coat the bottom of a cast iron skillet with oil and warm over medium heat. Add the catfish fillets and sauté in batches, about 2 to 3 minutes per side, depending on thickness. Add oil to the pan between batches when necessary, to prevent sticking. Serve immediately with tartar sauce and hushpuppies.

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From Southern from Scratch, by Ashley English, © 2018 by Ashley English. Photographs by Johnny Autry, © 2018 by Johnny Autry. Reprinted by arrangement with Roost Books, an imprint of Shambhala Publications, Inc. Boulder, Co.