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Southern Fried Whole Catfish

Southern Fried Whole Catfish, a delicious authentic Southern dish.  The catfish is well coated with seasoned cornmeal and flour mixture, then deep fried in hot oil until crispy, crunchy delicious.  

Southern Fried Whole Catfish, a delicious authentic Southern dish.  The catfish is well coated with seasoned cornmeal and flour mixture, then deep fried in hot oil until crispy crunchy delicious.

Summer is closing down, and in the past years by this time, we have fried catfish at least two or three times.  But as the years go by they are few and far between.  

It is just so much easier to go to our favorite catfish restaurant and buy a fried catfish dinner.  And we have excellent restaurants now that serve some delicious catfish.


Southern Fried Whole Catfish, a delicious authentic Southern dish.  The catfish is well coated with seasoned cornmeal and flour mixture, then deep fried in hot oil until crispy, crunchy dellicous.

Southern Fried Whole Catfish, a delicious authentic Southern dish.  The catfish is well coated with seasoned cornmeal and flour mixture, then deep fried in hot oil until crispy, crunchy dellicous.

WHOLE CATFISH VERSUS CATFISH FILLETS



This past week my husband got to go fishing with a friend of his and brought home twelve catfish.  They are the perfect size for frying whole which is my husband's favorite way to eat them.  

It is all about eating the crispy tails.  That is the part my husband goes for first.  When we eat catfish at the restaurant, they usually serve catfish fillets, so he likes to eat the whole catfish when I fry them at home.

Southern Fried Whole Catfish, a delicious authentic Southern dish.  The catfish is well coated with seasoned cornmeal and flour mixture, then deep fried in hot oil until crispy, crunchy delicious.

HOW TO COOK CATFISH


The breading should be cornmeal and a little flour.  If I have self rising cornmeal, the flour is already in the mix.  If I don't, I add the flour to corneal and a little baking powder and salt.  The addition of the flour helps make the breading stick better.  

I like to coat the catfish with the mixture of cornmeal and flour on each catfish and lay on a sheet pan.  Then go back and grab the first coated catfish and dredge in the cornmeal mixture again.  This is like double coating the catfish, that way it produces a golden crispy, crunchy crust.

Cooking the fish quickly at a very high temperature is the key to delivering a phenomenal crust around the catfish, sealing in the moisture and flavor.  If you have a deep enough dutch oven to fry the fish in, the fish should float when ready to remove from the hot oil.

As I have said before about frying, I always use Crisco shortening to fry with, but I do use peanut oil if we fry a large amount of fish.  For this recipe I use Crisco.

Like any fried fish you want the fish to flake off the bone when pulling it with a fork.  

This recipe is the easiest and best recipe you will ever use to fry catfish.  I hope you will give it a try.  Enjoy!

WHAT TO SERVE WITH FRIED WHOLE CATFISH


SIDES
Homemade French Fries
Homemade Green Tomato Relish (coming soon)

DESSERTS



WHAT YOU WILL NEED FOR THE RECIPE


  • Large Sheet Pan
  • Large deep cast iron skillet or dutch oven
  • Large tongs or slot spoon
  • Catfish
  • Crisco or peanut oil
  • Self rising cornmeal mix white or yellow
  • Flour
  • Salt and pepper
  • Cayenne pepper (optional)

Southern Fried Whole Catfish, a delicious authentic Southern dish.  The catfish is well coated with seasoned cornmeal and flour mixture, then deep fried in hot oil until crispy, crunchy delicious.


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Yield: 4-6

Southern Fried Whole Catfish

A delicious authentic Southern dish. The catfish is well coated with seasoned cornmeal and flour mixture, then deep fried in hot oil until crispy, crunchy delicious.
prep time: 10 minscook time: 35 minstotal time: 45 mins

ingredients


  • 12 whole catfish, heads removed, skinned, and cleaned
  • 4 cups Crisco or 2 quarts peanut oil
  • 2 cups self rising cornmeal
  • 1/2 teaspoon cayenne pepper (optional)
  • 2 tablespoons salt

instructions


  1. Add Crisco to a large deep iron skillet or dutch oven.  Heat on high.

  2. Rinse cleaned catfish and lay on a paper towel lined sheet pan.  Pat dry.  Sprinkle salt liberally over top of the catfish.  Turn over and salt the other side; set aside.
  3. In a shallow dish mix together self rising cornmeal mix and cayenne pepper.  
  4. Dredge catfish thoroughly in the cornmeal mixture and lay on a clean sheet pan until all the catfish have been coated.  
  5. Starting with the first coated catfish above dredge again in the self rising cornmeal mixture again.  Laying back on the sheet pan afterward.  Keep dredging the catfish in the order as above until all have been coated thoroughly with the self rising cornmeal mixture.
  6. When the Crisco is heated to 350 degrees F, start frying the catfish.  Place two coated catfish in the hot Crisco at a time.  Only fry two at a time.  
  7. When the catfish is cooked to a golden brown, remove from the hot Crisco, approximately 7-8 minutes.  The catfish will float to the top when it is close to being done.  
  8. Remove the catfish from the cast iron skillet when the catfish is done and place on a paper towel lined sheet pan.  Serve immediately.

NOTES:

Prepare all the catfish for coating before starting to fry.  This will help with not being distracted and possibly burning the catfish.   

If the Crisco becomes too low to fry the catfish, add additional Crisco between cooking two at a time.  (I usually have to add more Crisco after I cook 6 catfish.)  Bring the Crisco back up to 350 degrees F before adding another batch of catfish to the hot Crisco.

Avoid turning over the catfish if the hot Crisco covers the catfish, or stirring the hot Crisco while the catfish is cooking.  If the hot Crisco does not cover the catfish while frying, try only turning the catfish one time.  Stirring will cause the hot Crisco to cool down too much and the catfish to not cook properly.




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