Fried Catfish and Grits


There’s only one way to make crunchy, golden-brown catfish better–pairing it with ultra-creamy grits.

Fried Catfish and Grits
Makes 4 servings
  • 4 skinless catfish fillets (about 1½ pounds total)
  • 1 cup whole buttermilk
  • 2 cups whole milk
  • 2 cups water
  • 2 tablespoons unsalted butter
  • 2 cups stone-ground yellow grits, divided
  • 2 teaspoons kosher salt, divided
  • 1 teaspoon chopped fresh thyme
  • ¼ teaspoon ground black pepper
  • ¼ teaspoon ground red pepper
  • Vegetable oil, for frying
  • ½ cup all-purpose flour
  • 1 teaspoon cornstarch
  • Lemon wedges, to serve
  1. In a large, shallow dish, combine fish and buttermilk; cover and refrigerate for 1 hour, turning fish occasionally.
  2. In an enamel-coated cast-iron Dutch oven, bring milk, 2 cups water, and butter to a boil over medium-high heat. Gradually whisk in 1 cup grits until smooth; whisk in 1½ teaspoons salt, thyme, and peppers. Reduce heat and simmer, stirring frequently, until grits are tender and creamy, 25 to 30 minutes.
  3. In a deep, 12-inch cast-iron skillet, pour oil to a depth of 2 inches, and heat over medium heat until a deep-fry thermometer registers 350°.
  4. In a shallow dish, whisk together flour, cornstarch, remaining 1 cup grits, and remaining ½ teaspoon salt. Working in batches, remove fish from buttermilk, letting excess drip off. Dredge in flour mixture, pressing gently to thoroughly coat fish.
  5. Fry fish in batches until golden brown and an instant-read thermometer inserted in thickest portion of fish registers 145°, 3 to 5 minutes. Let drain on paper towels. Serve fish with grits and lemon.