It was just over a couple years ago I traveled to see my in-laws in Lawrence, Kansas. The waters were warming enough that the catfish were getting hungry, so my father-in-law and I decided to make a night of it. What you see above is one of our spoils from that trip. And since it was late when this photo was snapped, you're witness to a slightly crazed look in my eyes. But the fishing and the company were great.
Catfish has a taste you never forget. Growing up in the south, we ate buckets of fried catfish fillets every summer. A solid fighter to reel in, catfish, to me, are as fun to prepare and eat as they are to fish for. What I present today is a "fired up" fried catfish recipe that is quick, easy and will get you back on the water looking for more "cats" on the double. Enjoy!
Fiery Fried Catfish
- 1 c. all-purpose flour
- 2 Tbls. chili powder
- 1 Tbls. Slap Ya Mama cajun seasoning
- 3 tsp. black pepper, divided
- 1/2 c. beer (darker the better + a second bottle for drinking!)
- 3/4 c. stone-ground mustard
- 2 c. panko bread crumbs
- 1 Tbl. granulated garlic
- 1 Tbl. smoked paprika
- 1 tsp. salt
- 1 lb. catfish fillets (skinless, cut in four pieces)
- Lemon wedges (optional)
- Tip: larger catfish, like the one in the photo, may have a dark streak along their sides. If you can, cut this part out of your fillets before cooking as it can give your catfish a "murky" taste.
- Heat 1 c. of oil in a heavy pan or cast iron skillet. In three separate shallow dishes: mix together flour, chili powder, Slap Ya Mama cajun seasoning and 1 tsp. of black pepper in the first dish; mix stone-ground mustard and beer in the second dish; and place the panko bread crumbs in the last dish.
- In this order, dredge the fish fillets in flour mixture, mustard/beer mixture and then the panko crumbs. If you have a lot of fish fillets, refrigerate the dredged fillets until ready to use or fry them immediately.
- When ready, fry the fish in the oil until golden brown, or roughly 2-3 minutes. Remove to a rack to drain. If you prefer to skip the oil-frying, you can also bake the dredged fillets on a sheet pan with a baking rack in an oven at 350 degrees for about 15 minutes, then finishing both sides of the fillets under a broiler for a couple minutes total to give them a crispier coating.
- Serve with fresh lemon squeeze on top and with your favorite summer side dishes, such as coleslaw and hushpuppies.