Fried Catfish

Catfish Filet

Catfish Filet

by Cat, Jul 2009 (Photo, right, from American Feast blog (2)

During the wild-catch season, I eat salmon almost exclusively.  But during the off-season, catfish is my favorite (well, after lutefisk….).  Catfish has such a wonderful “river” taste.

Catfish cannot be found in the rivers here in the Flathead, but just over the hump (Continental Divide), in Eastern Montana, catfish are common.  Yet most catfish in stores today are farmed. The farmed fish have a distinct advantage over wild fish: fewer pollutants such as PCBs, heavy metals and pesticides in the meat, than wild catfish, because the wild versions are bottom feeders and have considerable exposure.  A disadvantage is that the farmed fish are lower in Omega-3 content (2).

However, I do not recommend farmed catfish from China, so be sure to ask the retailer.

  • Includes: 1. Simply Fried Catfish Filets; 2. Fried Catfish Fillets, Cajun-Style (my fav); 3. Catfish and Chips
  • See also: Fish & Seafood Menu

Simply Fried Catfish Filets

This way to prepare catfish is very simple (but I prefer the Cajun Style version, below):

  • Rub some Organic cornmeal onto both sides of the fish;
  • Season lightly with salt and pepper* and a bit of crushed thyme;
  • Pan fry in butter/lard mix (I DO NOT RECOMMEND using salad oil (or any oil that includes corn, soy, and/or canola oil, or any GMO oil) over medium-high heat, cooking about 3 minutes per side.  Squeeze a bit of fresh lemon over the filet and enjoy!

Serve with potatoes or steamed brown rice, coleslaw, and braised green beans and/or asparagus.

* I use a 50-50 mix of black pepper and red pepper (cayenne) of similar grind. You can buy this already mixed (for example, Shilling’s Hot Shot!) but it costs less to buy the ground peppers in bulk and then mix them.

Fried Catfish Fillets, Cajun Style

This is my fav version for Cajun-Style Catfish fillets.

Originally I used a commercial Cajun spice mix recommended by a friend who is part Cajun: Modern Products Inc: Natural Cajun Seasoning. But that is no longer available at my local grocer. It’s ingredients include: paprika, black pepper, garlic, cayenne pepper, celery root, chili powder, onion, chili powder, marjoram and oregano, plus sea salt.

I now make my own spice mix using either my own recipe for Cajun or Creole Seasoning, or a recipe by Emeril Lagasse (4):

    • 2 1/2 Tbsp paprika
    • 2 Tbsp sea salt
    • 2 Tbsp garlic powder [or finely minced garlic]
    • 1 Tbsp black pepper
    • 1 Tbsp onion powder [or finely minced onion]
    • 1 Tbsp cayenne pepper
    • 1 Tbsp dried leaf oregano
    • 1 Tbsp dried thyme

Here’s the catfish recipe:

  1. If using a whole catfish, remove the head, tail and skin.
  2. Season catfish lightly with the spice mix and salt (if not included in the spice mix) using amounts per your personal taste;
  3. Pan fry in butter/lard mix or Organic coconut oil over medium-high heat, cooking about 3 minutes per side. I DO NOT RECOMMEND using salad oil (or any oil that includes corn, soy, and/or canola oil, nor any GMO oil.

Catfish and Chips

This recipe is adapted from Better Homes and Gardens, June 2009 issue (3).

I love the mix of sweet and Yukon gold potatoes for the chips. This recipe is a low-fat version and ‘fries’ the fish and potatoes in the oven. If you have a deep-fryer or a cast iron chicken fryer pan, you can deep-fry them in lard or a mix of lard and coconut oil (or duck/goose fat), instead of baking in oven. I don’t recommend deep-frying in veggie, peanut, or olive oil, as they will break down in the high heat needed for frying.

I have not yet tested the recipe; when I do, I may use Organic cornmeal instead of panko. Serves 2.

Ingredients & Equipment:

  • ½ tsp chili powder
  • ¼ tsp Unrefined sea salt
  • ⅛ tsp dried dillweed
  • ⅛ tsp black pepper
  • pure olive oil (see my article Olive Oil: The Real Deal, or Adulterated/Fake)
  • two 4 – 6 oz catfish fillets
  • 2½ Tbsp buttermilk
  • ⅓ cup panko (Japanese-style bread crumbs)
  • 1 clove garlic, minced
  • 1 small sweet potato
  • 1 medium Yukon gold potato
  • Equipment
  • 2 shallow bowls
  • medium bowl
  • two baking sheets


  1. Rinse fish and pat dry.  Cut into 4 pieces; set aside.
  2. Preheat oven to 450°F. Oil baking sheets with olive oil.
  3. SEASONING: Combine chili powder, salt, dill and pepper in small bowl; set aside.
  4. FISH: Pour buttermilk in shallow dish; combine panko, garlic & ¾ tsp chili powder mixture in other shallow dish.
  5. Dip fish in buttermilk, turning to coat, and allowing excess to drip off.  Then dip in panko mixture, coating both sides.  Place on oiled baking sheet; lightly drizzle pure olive oil over the fillets.  Measure thickness, and set aside.
  6. CHIPS: scrub potatoes; cut in ½ inch thick wedges.  Toss in medium bowl with ½ Tbsp olive oil to coat (not needed if you deep-fry them).  Add remaining ¼ tsp of the chili powder mixture and toss again.  Arrange in single layer on other oiled baking sheet.  Bake 10 minutes or more, until tender and golden.
  7. Place catfish on its baking rack in oven (with potatoes); bake 4 – 6 minutes per ½-inch thickness of fish, or until fish flakes easily when tested with fork, and potatoes are tender.

Assembly or Serving ideas

  • Lay baked filets on bed of lettuce; sprinkle with fresh dill.  Arrange chips next to fish. Serve with malt vinegar or lemon wedges.


  3. Better Homes and Gardens recipe, June 2009 issue (
  4. Emeril Lagasse spice mix recipe

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