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Catfish Classique

Photo: Oxmoor House
Hands-On time 37 mins
Yield Serves 6 (serving size: 1 topped fillet)
In the Deep South, cooks in local catfish houses typically coat the fillets in a mixture of cornmeal and flour, then deep-fry to a golden brown.

Ingredients

  • 4.5 ounces all-purpose flour (about 1 cup)
  • 1 1/4 cups plain yellow cornmeal
  • 2 tablespoons flour
  • 1 teaspoon freshly ground black pepper
  • 1 cup nonfat buttermilk
  • 1 large egg, lightly beaten
  • 5 cups peanut or canola oil
  • 4 (4-ounce) farm-raised catfish fillets
  • 3/4 teaspoon kosher salt, divided
  • 2 applewood-smoked bacon slices
  • 1 tablespoon butter
  • 18 medium shrimp, peeled and deveined (about 1 pound)
  • 1/2 cup finely chopped onion
  • 1 teaspoon minced fresh garlic
  • 1 cup 2% reduced-fat milk
  • 3/4 cup fat-free, lower-sodium chicken broth
  • 1/4 cup sliced green onions

Nutrition Information

  • calories 398
  • fat 22.4 g
  • satfat 5.9 g
  • monofat 8.9 g
  • polyfat 5 g
  • protein 29 g
  • carbohydrate 18.9 g
  • fiber 1 g
  • cholesterol 125 mg
  • iron 1.2 mg
  • sodium 611 mg
  • calcium 107 mg

How to Make It

  1. Preheat oven to 250°. Place 1 cup flour in a shallow dish or bowl. Combine cornmeal, 2 tablespoons flour, and pepper in a second shallow dish, stirring well with a whisk. Combine buttermilk and egg in a third shallow bowl or dish, stirring well with a whisk.

  2. Heat oil to 385° in a Dutch oven. Sprinkle both sides of fillets with 1/2 teaspoon salt. Dredge 2 fillets in flour. Dip in buttermilk mixture, and dredge in cornmeal mixture. Fry breaded fillets for 5 minutes or until golden brown and fish flakes easily when tested with a fork. Place fried fillets on a wire rack in a jelly-roll pan, and keep warm in a 250° oven. Repeat procedure with remaining fillets, flour, buttermilk mixture, and cornmeal mixture.

  3. Cook bacon in a large nonstick skillet over medium heat until crisp. Remove bacon from pan; crumble. Add butter to drippings in pan. Add shrimp; sauté 3 to 5 minutes or until done. Remove shrimp from pan; keep warm. Add onion to pan; sauté 3 minutes or until tender. Add garlic; sauté 30 seconds. Sprinkle with 2 tablespoons flour; cook 1 minute, stirring constantly. Stir in milk, broth, and 1/4 teaspoon salt; bring to a simmer. Cook 3 minutes or until slightly thick, stirring frequently.

  4. Place 1 catfish fillet on each of 6 plates; top each serving with about 1/3 cup sauce, 3 shrimp, 2 teaspoons green onions, and crumbled bacon. Serve immediately.

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