Fried Catfish

  • Serves

    serves 4

The history of soul food is written between the lines of family recipes. The cooking of handed-down traditional recipes, along with the retelling of common stories, brings past and present together. This recipe is a taste of one of the many soul food specialties. Cornmeal, preferably white, is the catfish breading of choice around Memphis.


  • 1 tsp. paprika
  • 1 tsp. cayenne pepper
  • 1 tsp. salt
  • 1 tsp. ground black pepper
  • 34 cup white or yellow cornmeal
  • 4 (8-oz.) catfish filets
  • Vegetable oil


Step 1

Combine paprika, cayenne pepper, salt, and ground black pepper in a bowl. Set aside.

Step 2

Pour cornmeal into a shallow pan.

Step 3

Sprinkle catfish filets with seasoning mixture, then dredge each in cornmeal, coating well on both sides. Shake off excess.

Step 4

Heat 1⁄2" vegetable oil in a cast-iron skillet over medium heat. When oil is hot, add filets and cook, turning once, until golden, 3–5 minutes per side. Drain on paper towels. Serve with lemon wedges and Tartar Sauce.

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