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Fried Catfish with Hush Puppies and Tartar Sauce

Photo: Becky Luigart-Stayner; Styling: Mindi Shapiro
Yield 6 servings (serving size: 1 fillet, 2 hush puppies, and 4 teaspoons tartar sauce)
Proof that you can get fried food to fit into a healthy diet. Coat the fillets and prepare the batter for hush puppies while you wait for the oil to come up to temperature. You can also make the tartar sauce up to two days ahead and keep it refrigerated. If you don't like catfish, use halibut, tilapia, or another flaky white fish.

Ingredients

  • Tartar Sauce:
  • 1/4 cup organic canola mayonnaise (such as Spectrum)
  • 1 tablespoon dill pickle relish
  • 1 tablespoon chopped fresh flat-leaf parsley
  • 1 teaspoon prepared horseradish
  • 3/4 teaspoon fresh lemon juice
  • 1/8 teaspoon salt
  • Catfish:
  • 8 cups peanut oil
  • 6 (6-ounce) catfish fillets
  • 1/8 teaspoon salt
  • 9 ounces all-purpose flour, divided (about 2 cups)
  • 1 1/4 cups cornmeal
  • 1 teaspoon freshly ground black pepper
  • 2 cups buttermilk
  • 2 large eggs
  • Hush Puppies:
  • 3 2/5 ounces all-purpose flour (about 3/4 cup)
  • 1/3 cup cornmeal
  • 1/3 cup buttermilk
  • 3 tablespoons grated onion
  • 1 teaspoon baking powder
  • 1/8 teaspoon salt
  • 1/4 teaspoon ground red pepper
  • 1 large egg, lightly beaten

Nutrition Information

  • calories 507
  • fat 23.8 g
  • satfat 4.1 g
  • monofat 8.4 g
  • polyfat 9.4 g
  • protein 29.4 g
  • carbohydrate 43 g
  • fiber 2.6 g
  • cholesterol 153 mg
  • iron 3.6 mg
  • sodium 709 mg
  • calcium 171 mg

How to Make It

  1. To prepare tartar sauce, combine first 6 ingredients. Cover and chill.

  2. To prepare catfish, clip a candy/fry thermometer to a Dutch oven; add oil to pan. Heat oil to 385°.

  3. Sprinkle fillets evenly with 1/2 teaspoon salt. Place 5 ounces (1 cup) flour in a shallow dish. Combine remaining 5 ounces (1 cup) flour, cornmeal, and black pepper in a shallow dish. Combine 2 cups buttermilk and 2 eggs in a shallow dish. Dredge fillets in flour; dip in buttermilk mixture. Dredge in cornmeal mixture; shake off excess breading. Place 2 fillets in hot oil; cook 5 minutes or until done, turning occasionally. Make sure oil temperature does not drop below 375°. Remove fillets from pan using a slotted spoon; drain on paper towels. Return oil temperature to 385°. Repeat procedure twice with remaining fillets.

  4. To prepare hush puppies, weigh or lightly spoon 4 ounces (3/4 cup) flour in dry measuring cups; level with a knife. Combine 4 ounces flour and remaining ingredients. Drop batter 1 tablespoonful at a time into pan; fry at 375° for 5 minutes or until browned, turning frequently. Remove hush puppies from pan using a slotted spoon; drain on paper towels.

Cook's Notes

This recipe was updated for the November, 2012 25th anniversary issue.