We are coming into prime fish fry season, and I couldn’t be happier! Being a lifelong Alabamian, I’ve always enjoyed the abundance of fresh catfish in our markets. Did you know that 97% of all U.S. Farm-Raised Catfish comes from fish farms in Alabama, Arkansas, Louisiana and Mississippi? This farm-raised catfish is known for its delicious flavor, which is consistently mild and slightly sweet. Of course, catfish is lean and an excellent source of protein, registering low in saturated fat with moderate amounts of those omega-3s so many people are trying to get more of.
My friend, Mike Owens, who has raised catfish in Hale County for over four decades, says, “It’s homegrown right here in the U.S. We put a lot of time and effort into what we do. As a catfish farmer, you’re always growing or taking care of something; you’ve got to feed and nourish the catfish. The pride we put into it should make it a great product.”
Now that I’ve got you craving fried fish (admit it, you were just thinking about it), I’m sharing some great recipes to compliment your fish fry. This is a win/win because we can support our local farmers and partake of this amazingly delicious fish with our families!
We start off with the star of the show, Lemon-Pepper Fried Catfish. This recipe takes your classic fish breading up just notch. I keep it traditional with a buttermilk coating and dredge of cornmeal, but the lemon pepper seasoning adds a little something special to that wonderful crispy cornmeal coating we’ve all come to love.
What would fish be without tartar sauce? Fortunately, it’s so simple to make. With just another couple of ingredients, you can serve my Dill Pickle Tartar Sauce for a great pop of flavor that goes perfectly with those crispy fillets.
Last but not least, we need a good homemade coleslaw.
Everyone tends to have a special recipe. While I’ve never met a coleslaw I didn’t like, I’ve learned that whenever I make this one, it’s best to print off a few copies of the recipe. It never fails that I’m asked for it.
My favorite part of these recipes is the tartar sauce and coleslaw can be made a day ahead of time.
Make your favorite dessert the day before, as well, and you can have a fish fry for a crowd with very little work — and lots of time to enjoy the pleasures of good company and a delicious meal. Y’all enjoy!