This recipe came to us from Edna Scott, the wife of a catfish farmer in the Mississippi Delta. The secret to getting it just right is in cooking the fish at the proper temperature. Fried catfish goes particularly well with Hush Puppies.
1 cup yellow cornmeal
1⁄2 cup flour
3 tbsp. seasoned salt
1 tbsp. garlic salt
1⁄2 tsp. lemon pepper
1⁄4 tsp. cayenne
Freshly ground black pepper
8 catfish filets
1. Pour oil into a large deep cast-iron or heavy-bottomed skillet to a depth of 3" and heat over medium-high heat until hot but not smoking, 350°–360° on a candy thermometer.
2. Meanwhile, combine cornmeal, flour, seasoned salt, garlic salt, lemon pepper, cayenne, and black pepper to taste in a large shallow dish, then thoroughly dredge catfish filets, gently shaking off excess.
3. Working in 2 batches to avoid crowding, fry catfish in the hot oil, without turning, until golden and crisp, 5–6 minutes. Transfer filets with a slotted spatula to paper towels to drain. Season to taste with salt.