Oven Fried Catfish Is Dadgum Tasty

If you have been around this blog before, you may be aware that I am a woman who loves bacon. I am a Texan, and we fry. Therefore, I prefer my food fried in bacon grease. I mean to tell you that even Brussel sprouts are palatable wrapped in bacon and deep fat fried.

But, I realize that I am getting older and should be eating a more healthy diet. I’ve never eaten much fish. Now, every magazine I pick up tells me I should be eating fish for its health benefits. The Omega-3 oils in fish protect the immune system and play a role in protecting the body from arthritis, inflammation, heart disease, depression, diabetes, Alzheimer’s disease, and I forget what else.

The only fish (that wasn’t in a can) that I consumed as a child was crappie (pronounced as krŏp’ē, if you are unfamiliar with it). We were always excited when Daddy said “the crappie are running,” because that meant he was going fishing and there would be a fish fry! The fish was cut into filets, rolled in cornmeal and deep-fat fried. It was served with heaping mounds of fried potatoes, fried hush puppies, and lots of ketchup. Occasionally, one had a teaspoonful of cole slaw on the plate, but we considered it a waste of stomach space. We never discovered a way to deep-fat fry cole slaw.


I’ve only eaten baked fish a handful of times in my life, and I try hard not to gag at the table, because my Momma taught me manners. The most notable time was when Mr. Ex and I had a fancy-schmancy meal at a hotel in Colorado. I ordered a baked trout, and I was as surprised as a puppy with his first porcupine when that waiter placed the plate in front of me. That fish was staring me right in the eye! I have no idea what expression might have come over my face, but evidently the waiter had seen it before. He pulled out his chopping knife, whacked that fish’s head plumb off, scooped it on a plate and carried it away.

It was too late. I no longer had an appetite.

All that being said, I don’t know what came over me yesterday in the Kroger Store. I got a wild hair to buy a package of catfish (it’s a little known fact that my brother-in-law, C.S. Tucker is an internationally renowned expert on catfish farming) and decided to “oven fry” them. OK, I admit that I would have fried them in a deep-fat fryer if I had one. But, I didn’t get custody of the deep-fat fryer in the divorce settlement, so there you go.

[aside: Y’all do know the difference between a lawyer and a catfish, don’t you? One is a bottom-dwelling, scum-sucking scavenger. The other is a fish. Ba-dum-bum]

I went to the internet to find a recipe that might be acceptable. The first recipe for oven-fried catfish at Cooks.com indicated that the fish should be rolled in egg whites and then in crushed corn flakes. Ick! All I had in the cabinet were Frosted Flakes.


Tony the Tiger would not have thought that was “GRRRRRREAT!”

The second recipe called for rolling the fish in cornmeal, but didn’t want the egg whites. Corn meal sounded more like something a Texas girl would eat, and I had a package of Morrison’s Corn-Kits. But, cornmeal doesn’t stick very well, so I decided to mix the two recipes. My Mamaw taught me never to follow a recipe. It’s just supposed to point you in the right direction.

Here’s what I came up with:


About a pound of catfish filets, washed and patted dry
A package of Morrison’s Corn-Kits, or failing to find that, a cup of cornmeal
1 1/2 teaspoons of garlic powder
1 1/2 teaspoons of crushed parsley
1 teaspoon of lemon pepper
2 egg whites mixed with about two tablespoons of water
A dab of butter (“dab,” in this case, means a little more than a tablespoon)

  • First, melt the butter in the microwave and use it to coat the bottom of a glass pan (large enough to lay all the filets flat)
  • Mix the garlic, parsley, and lemon pepper with the cornmeal or Corn-Kits
  • Roll the filets in the egg whites, then the cornmeal until they are coated, then spread them in the buttered pan
  • Bake at 350 degrees for about 45 minutes.
  • Whip up some tartar sauce, or grab the bottle of ketchup and you’re in business.

    Mr. Tucker liked this recipe, and says I have his permission to cook it again (like he thinks I need permission or that he could stop me if I wanted to do something!). I even liked it, and pronounced it “bloggable.” It’s not as delicious as fried crappie, but it’s pretty dadgum tasty.


    I might even decide to try other fish recipes. Do you have one that I might be able to stomach?

      10 comments for “Oven Fried Catfish Is Dadgum Tasty

    1. Pingback: Tumbled Words » On Bacon, Cheese, and SAS
    2. February 8, 2008 at 1:02 pm

      Oh that sounds pretty delicious! I’ve had fried fish, but I’ve never attempted to make it at home. It’s always been steamed for me. However even thought it’s easy, I’m pretty sure that you won’t be interested in how I do it because it’s the whole fish that gets steamed. Head and all. Chinese people have no shame or reservations about food. Haha

      Ummm. Derek, if we have dinner together, I’ll be the cook. 😆 I would need one of those barf bags I posted if you hand me a plate with the fish looking at me.

    3. February 8, 2008 at 3:30 pm

      I have to admit that I really really REALLY don’t like fish, but I do like salmon. I’ve got some great baked salmon recipes if you think you could stomach those.

      In a nutshell – you marinate the salmon any number of different ways, then bake it on a bed of rock salt (keeps it moist and somehow doesn’t make it salty). Let me know if you want specifics.

      I have rock salt. Do you have a really spicy marinade? That might cover up the flavor of the fish 😆

    4. February 8, 2008 at 5:35 pm

      I’m not a big fish eater, but I was raised that catfish needed to be fried. With a side of hush puppies… :mrgreen: You know, no redeeming nutrition in any of the meal…

      I’m with you ALL the way on that! 😆 Obviously, I am not fond of anything without tons of calories and cholesterol. But, I’ll die happy 😀

    5. February 8, 2008 at 7:03 pm

      Even though we’re a lot alike, we have very different tastes in food. I can’t stand anything fried except donuts, chicken, mushrooms and zucchini! LOL

      I’m not much of a fish eater, either. I love shellfish, but I don’t think those actually count as fish, nutritionwise…

      Once in a while, we do make cod. My hubby dips it in beaten eggs and then this stuff called Andy’s Fish Breading. It comes in some differently seasoned varieties, but I prefer the plain one. They sell it at our grocery store.

      When baked, it comes out very good!! We’ve also done cod with the corn flakes. That’s actually pretty good, too!


      Actually, nutrition wise, I think that we are supposed to be eating oily fish like sardines and such. Is cod what they cook at Long John Silver’s? I like that…but again, it’s fried. I guess that you not liking fried stuff is just a product of the way you were raised. It’s why I like fried stuff. I wonder if Mamaw fried because it was quicker and didn’t heat up the house (since there was no air-conditioning in the Texas summers). Hmmm. I’ll look for Andy’s Fish Breading. I’m willing to bet that it’s not sold around here.

    6. Jen
      February 9, 2008 at 11:17 am

      Don’t need no stinking deep fat fryer to fry fish…we fry up mackeral in a frying pan on the stove. ( I like to do it on my gas grill sideburner to avoid the smell…) But since our fish is freshly caught, I just dip it in egg beaten in milk and then plain cornmeal, then I just throw it in a frying pan with some vegetable oil. Turn often and of course a big old black iron frying pan is the best.

      I like cooking fish in the oven wrapped in tinfoil with some butter and herbs.
      Then there is a sinfully fattening version of haddock with ritz crackers and butter that gets baked and tastes like lobster. Tastes great, negative effect on watching your cholesterol.

      We had shrimp this week lightly satueed in olive oil and I mixed in the KNorr’s pesto package, threw in a can of minced clams with a little bit of the juice, along with some garlic and chopped onion.Throw it together with some linguinia and voila a great seafood dinner. See, I cook like you too. A bit of this and some of that….

      I could figure that you cook like I do 😆 When I fry in a pan, I wind up burning it. Or, getting it all stuck to the pan. When you move to Arkansas, and are closer, I’ll come for supper and you can prove to me that haddock can be made to taste like lobster. Now, that shrimp sounds good! We have a local restaurant that has gotten me hooked on shrimp tacos. They are supposed to be “famous” for their fish tacos, but you can’t get me to try them.

    7. February 10, 2008 at 2:44 am

      I’m not crazy about fish, but I like to pan poach it in white wine with a bit of butter, in which I first saute some green onion and garlic. I usually cook salmon and halibut fillets this way.

      Sharon, my problem is not having familiarity with many different types of fish. I’m not sure I’ve ever eaten halibut. It sounds like your recipe is a good one, but, again, fried is my favorite. It’s just the “country” in me 😆

    8. February 10, 2008 at 5:15 pm

      Thanks for the recipe. You didn’t mention that when Crappie are running they sort of sit in a hole mouth aimed upwards and beg to be eaten. Stupidest fish I every caught if dropping a string in the water qualifies as catching.

      Now I don’t know if poached fish would be palatable to a Texas girl, but dishwasher fish is fun if nothing else.

      Get firm flesh filets (halibut or salmon), season with lemon pepper and garlic and place in a freezer bag with a good seal and 1 cup of white wine. Lay flat in the top basket of the dishwasher and run through one regular cycle. Remove and eat.

      More to your liking might be the enchiladas on my site.

      Umm…”dishwasher fish” sounds interesting, but I’ll pass…but I’m coming over to see those enchiladas right now! With a side of guacamole? MMM.

    9. February 10, 2008 at 7:37 pm

      Wow, Shelly…. that does look pretty good! And healthy. Orange Roughy is very tasty — and so is Tilapia. But, were you hungry afterward? I get so hungry an hour or so after I eat fish.
      Actually, I wasn’t hungry later. And, it indeed was pretty good. I have never tried orange roughy or tilapia either….I’m so unwordly. But, I DO know my bacon!

    10. February 11, 2008 at 12:34 am

      Came here via “Wine on the Keyboard” blog. 🙂

      I love fish. Grew up in Florida, so seafood was the thing to eat. I have a really good fish recipe that I will dig up tomorrow and post. Been meaning to post it to my blog anyway. No time like now, huh? Well… not now. It is 1:34am. But today later on.

      If you like cheese, this will be the recipe for you! 😀

      I’m so glad you dropped by! I don’t promise to actually cook fish with cheese, but I’ll gladly examine a recipe!! 😆 Is the cheese fried???

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