Photo: Becky Luigart-Stayner; Styling: Mindi Shapiro
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.

How to Make It

Step 1

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

Step 2

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

Step 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.

Step 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.

Chef's Notes

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

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Ratings & Reviews

Flawless's Review

November 03, 2014
I love fried catfish and after losing 100lbs, it's definitely a treat for me. I found this recipe while looking for a healthier oil. A few tweaks if you don't like a lot of breading or breading that falls off......I use Louisiana fish fry only. Dip in buttermilk, milk, or water first, shake off excess, dredge in fish fry, shake off excess and fry! I drain on a wire rack and the breading comes out light and crispy.

Toby000's Review

May 31, 2014
Similar experience, fried it in a bit of canola oil but not too pleased with result, but did enjoy the tartar sauce -much better than the kind served most places.

Emz101's Review

May 24, 2012
This was a pretty good recipe I made quite a few changes though. First I used cod instead of catfish since I think cat fish is gross. I also used canola oil and a small amount of butter instead of peanut oil and pan fried the fish instead of deep fried. I also used alot more spice's then called for since other reviewers mentioned that it can be slightly bland, I would use even more next time. The coating stayed on very well and was crunchy and way better then over baked fish, I didn't make the tartar sauce recipe I just used some that I had in the fridge. I had never really heard of a hush puppy before so I didn't really know what to expect, they were fluffy little balls of dough but I don't really see the point of them or how to eat them, or if some condiment was supposed to go with them but they were a little dry and I dont think I will bother with them again.

AzureKitsune's Review

August 14, 2011
We didnt make the tartar sauce solely because we didnt want it. We just wanted the fish and the puppies. I made four fillets, by the way. The breading wasnt too thick or greasy/oily and it didnt fall off the fish. The only thing is, we didnt use peanut oil as it was just too expensive. I dont remember what oil we used, but it wasnt expensive. The hush puppies might have been a little bland but they still tasted good. We deep fried everything. My ONLY complaint with this is when breading the raw fish, the recipe calls for A LOT of flour and cornmeal in a plate to coat the fish with and I just feel like we had a lot left over and trashed a lot, so you might want to cut that down some... All in all, I REALLY want to make this again. It was amazing for fish lovers :D

ChefAmandaLynn's Review

April 14, 2011
This was the first time I have ever deep fried anything. I agree with other posters that it was not worth the $6 bottle of oil to fry it in. I did really like the catfish, but the hush puppies were a little bland. If I was going to redo it I would add some creaole seasoning to the hush puppes and the cornmeal batter.

JulzChicago's Review

April 13, 2011
I liked the idea of this, but didn't want the headache or the mess of frying the fish. Also, I used swai fillets rather than catfish because that's all my grocery store had. I cut the flour and cornmeal portions and ended up pan-frying the fish in about 2.5 TBS of canola oil. I liked how the breading came out. It wasn't too thick and it had a great texture and wasn't super oily. I didn't make the hush puppies to cut down on calories. The tartar sauce was delicious. I just chopped up a dill pickle since I'm particular with my relishes and didn't have parsley on hand so threw in some cilantro. I also served this with some packaged broccoli slaw (again, grocery store didn't have cole slaw prepackaged and I didn't feel like buying and chopping cabbage) and threw on some Wishbone Light Thousand Island dressing. A good meal over all, but not sure I'd ever really make it again.

redwine48's Review

October 05, 2010
I love catfish period. That said let me try to pump this up. Tartar sauce: Add 1tsp fresh dill or 1/2 tsp dried dill. Catfish: Soak fish in buttermilk, add 1/4tsp cayenne pepper to flour,dip fish back into buttermilk(no eggs) add 1/4tsp cayenne to cornmeal. Hushpuppies: Add 2tbs chopped green onion tops, and 2 tbs chopped green pepper, 1 garlic clove grated. Maybe add 2tbs sugar. Fry. Serve with coleslaw and fries.

JessicaLuu's Review

June 07, 2010
The taste is 5 stars, but it is kind of expensive and time consuming, so it will a special treat for us. The breading is a little bland, but if you add a little Tony Chachere's seasoning (we're from South Louisiana)there's no problem. My fish was crisp on the outside snd flaky in the middle. My husband is a fried catfish fiend, and he loved this. Next time I will make more hush puppies, because we were fighting over them they were so good. Adding a side salad would really help the meal feel lighter.

MichelleS's Review

May 19, 2010
I am not sure what to change with this recipe to make it better, all I know is that is was not good at all. First, the breading is too dry and very bland even after adding garlic and onion powders. Then, after the fish was done, the coating just kind of fell off in one peice. It separated from the fish which was weird. It was really hard to eat and gave me a stomach ache trying. I think the oven fried versions are so much better.

JollyGirl's Review

March 25, 2010
Mine looked exactly like the picture but overall the crust was too thick & heavy and the hush puppies lacked flavor.Not worth it for the price of the oil and the clean up after!