Under 30 Minutes

Southern-Style Pan-Fried Catfish

Emeril prepared this catfish recipe from his new book, "Emeril 20-40-60," as part of a live cooking challenge on "The Martha Stewart Show." He also made Simple Turkey Meatloaf and Chicken Cordon Bleu.

  • Prep:
  • Total Time:
  • Servings: 4
Southern-Style Pan-Fried Catfish

Source: The Martha Stewart Show, November 2009


  • 1/2 cup buttermilk
  • 2 tablespoons whole-grain mustard
  • 1 tablespoon Emeril's Original Essence or Creole Seasoning
  • 1 tablespoon minced garlic
  • 2 teaspoons Louisiana hot sauce or other red hot sauce
  • 4 (6- to 8-ounce) skinless catfish fillets
  • 1 cup all-purpose flour
  • 2/3 cup cornmeal
  • 1 tablespoon coarse salt
  • 2/3 cup vegetable oil, for frying
  • Emeril's Kicked-Up Tartar Sauce, for serving (optional)
  • Lemon wedges, for serving


  1. Whisk together buttermilk, mustard, Essence, garlic, and hot sauce in a small bowl. Place fillets in a shallow baking dish just large enough to hold them in an even layer. Pour buttermilk mixture over fish, making sure each fillet is evenly coated; set aside.

  2. In another shallow baking dish, whisk together flour, cornmeal, and salt.

  3. Working with 1 piece of fish at a time, remove from buttermilk mixture, shaking off any excess, and dredge in flour mixture to coat. Transfer to a plate and repeat process with remaining fillets.

  4. Heat vegetable oil in a large skillet over medium heat. When oil is hot, carefully add two fillets to skillet. Cook, until golden brown and crisp, about 4 minutes. Turn and continue cooking until golden brown and crisp on the second side, 3 to 4 minutes more.

  5. Using a fish spatula, transfer fillets to a paper towel-lined plate; repeat process with remaining 2 fillets. Serve immediately with tartar sauce, if desired, and lemon wedges.


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