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The South's Favorite Fish

Spicy Homemade BAked Cajun Catfish with French Fries
bhofack2/Getty Images/iStockphoto

Did you know that August is National Catfish Month?

To learn more about cooking the South’s favorite fish, I called the folks at my favorite hometown catfish spot … Soul Fish Cafe. Raymond Williams, one of the owners of Soul Fish Café, shared his top 5 tips for frying catfish.

Tip #1: When purchasing catfish, Raymond says the first thing to look for is buying from a good, reputable, local source. You want to make sure you are getting catfish raised domestically from states like Mississippi, Arkansas, Alabama, or Louisiana. You should avoid the less expensive options coming from China.

Tip #2: When cooking your catfish, Raymond says remember the old adage that “simple is best.”

At Soul Fish, they don’t do anything special to the catfish – no marinades or sauces beforehand. Raymond says they just put it straight into seasoned cornmeal and right into the fryer.

Tip #3: For a good cornmeal recipe for the catfish, Raymond says the key is to just start with good golden cornmeal. Mix in a little salt and pepper, and maybe some paprika and a little garlic.

Tip #4: To achieve perfectly crispy and golden fried catfish, the oil is the most important factor. Be sure to select an oil with a high smoke point, such as peanut oil.

Raymond says to fry catfish at 350 degrees.

Tip #5: And don't overcrowd the skillet. Fry, in batches, two fillets at a time. Before frying the next batch, bring the remaining oil back to the proper temperature by using a deep-fat thermometer.

This is Jennifer Chandler with The Weekly Dish. Bon Appetit!

For more information about Soul Fish Cafe , visit www.soulfishcafe.com.

Jennifer Chandler graduated at the top of her class from Le Cordon Bleu in Paris. She is a full-time mom to two daughters in Memphis, Tennessee, and is a freelance food writer, restaurant consultant, and author of four cookbooks The Southern Pantry Cookbook, Simply Salads, Simply Suppers, and Simply Grilling.