Crispy Old Bay Fried Catfish


2 lb catfish fillets, cut in half length-wise if needed
Old Bay for sprinkling
1 1/3 cup self-rising cornmeal mix
1/4 cup Old Bay (low sodium okay)
1-2 tablespoons lemon pepper seasoning
canola oil for frying


Rinse the fish. Place fish in single layer in a shallow bowl or tray, sprinkle a good amount of Old Bay over the fish and rub it in on both sides. Heat 1-2 inches of canola oil in large, heavy-bottomed skillet. In a shallow bowl, whisk together the cornmeal mix, 1/4 cup Old Bay, and lemon pepper. Do not add extra salt! Dredge the fish in the mixture to thoroughly coat.

Fry fish fillets in the oil, for about 4 minutes on each side, depending on thickness.

Make sure the fish is cooked through. Drain on paper towel-lined plates and serve immediately.

My thoughts:

Years ago, someone told me that the secret to super crispy fried fish was self-rising cornmeal mix. I had never bought such a thing before and always made my own mix of flour and cornmeal to make fried fish (like this) but when I saw some self-rising cornmeal mix on sale at Aldi, I picked up a bag. And you know what? It really does work! I don’t know if it rose any but it really stuck to the fish while it was frying and when removing it from the pan and dishing up. Maybe it was partially the Old Bay rub that helped too? Who knows? All I know that this was some of the crispest, tastiest catfish I’ve had ever. And I am a catfish connoisseur.  I will say it was slightly salty (self-rising cornmeal mix has some salt in it, as does lemon pepper and Old Bay) so if you want to use low sodium Old Bay and/or lemon pepper, this is one recipe that they would work perfectly in.

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