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This fried catfish recipe gets dredged with garlicky cornmeal for a superior crust.
- 3 tablespoons plus 3/4 teaspoon kosher salt, divided
- 3 tablespoons hot pepper sauce
- 6 5–7-ounce U.S.-farmed catfish fillets
- 1 1/2 cups white cornmeal
- 2 tablespoons all-purpose flour
- 2 1/2 teaspoons baking powder
- 1 teaspoon freshly ground black pepper
- 1/2 teaspoon cayenne pepper
- 3 cups (about) vegetable oil
Whisk 3 Tbsp. salt, hot pepper sauce, and 8 cups hot water in a large bowl until salt dissolves. Chill in freezer until cold, about 30 minutes. Place catfish in brine, cover, and refrigerate for 3 hours.
Whisk cornmeal, next 5 ingredients, and remaining 3/4 teaspoon salt in a medium bowl. Attach deep-fry thermometer to the side of a 10" cast-iron skillet or other large heavy skillet. Add oil to come a little less than halfway up side of skillet. Heat over medium heat until thermometer reads 335°.
Rinse catfish; pat dry. Dredge catfish in cornmeal mixture, shaking off excess. Working with 2 fillets at a time, fry catfish, turning halfway through, until golden brown and crispy, 10–12 minutes per batch. Transfer fish to paper towels to drain.