2 lb catfish filets*, cut in half length-wise
1/2 cup cornmeal
1 tablespoon Old Bay
1 1/2 teaspoons cayenne
1 teaspoon celery seed
juice of one lemon
oil for frying
Place fish in a shallow bowl, squeeze lemon juice over the fish. Refrigerate for 30 minutes. On a plate, mix together flour, cornmeal, Old Bay, cayenne, salt, pepper and celery seed. Dredge the fish (both sides) in the mixture then place on a place and refrigerate an additional 1/2 hour. Meanwhile, heat enough oil to pan fry in a large, shallow pan. Heat the oil on medium high heat for about 15 minutes or until you can really start to smell the oil. Fry fish filets in the oil, for about 4 minutes on each side, depending on thickness. Make sure the fish is cooked through. Drain on a paper towel lined plate and serve immediately, although any leftovers will make good sandwiches the next day.
*If you don’t have catfish, white fish (whiting) or even tilapia will do.
When I was little I used to go fishing and catch giant catfish that my grandpop would then cut up and fry for me. Now I buy my fish at the supermarket and it is my husband who fries it up for me. This version is spicier than what my grandpop made but every bit as tasty! The trick to a successful fry is very hot oil. If it is not hot enough, the fish will soak up the oil and you will be left with greasy fish. Cooking with hot oil can be tricky, but if you are careful, the results will be well worth the hassle.