Rethink store-bought sauce: Spoon spicy, quick-pickled peppers and their kicky brine over fish to add flavor, color, and crunch.
Combine flour and 1 tsp. each salt and pepper in a shallow dish. Whisk together eggs and 2 Tbsp. water in another dish. Combine cornmeal, 1 tsp. salt, and remaining 1 tsp. pepper in a third dish. Sprinkle catfish with remaining 1/4 tsp. salt. Dredge fillets, 1 at a time, in flour mixture, shaking off excess; dip in egg mixture, and dredge in cornmeal mixture, shaking off excess. Place on a wire rack in a jelly-roll pan. Pour oil to depth of 2 inches in a cast-iron Dutch oven. Heat over medium-high heat to 350°. Fry fillets, 2 at a time, in hot oil 6 minutes or until done. Drain on a wire rack over paper towels. Serve with Pickled Peppers.
Andrew Michael Italian Kitchen and Hog & Hominy, East Memphis, TN