What’s the secret to Mississippi’s crunchy, perfectly seasoned fried catfish? We went down to the delta’s best fish joints to find out.
Why This Recipe Works
For a crunchy, not gritty, cornmeal crust on this delta delicacy, we found that processing half of the cornmeal to a fine powder in a spice grinder gave the fried fish just the right texture. Along with salt and pepper, cayenne and granulated garlic season our cornmeal coating. A dip in hot sauce–laced buttermilk helps the coating adhere and seasons the fish even deeper. To maximize the crunchy exterior, we halve the fillets to make catfish “tenders,” and after only a few minutes in hot oil, they emerge crisp and golden brown.