Fried Fish

When I think of fried fish, I think mostly of freshwater bream (pronounced “brim”) and catfish served with hushpuppies. I might also conjure up fried whiting and hot sauce, a hallmark of black cooks in the Lowcountry, or the very French pan-fried flounder (à la meunière). Two-inch cubes of cobia fried in bubbling clarified butter are a favorite as well. And all of these are served with lemon wedges.

The basic recipe for fried freshwater fish is to dip the fillets or cleaned (scaled, gutted, and headless) fish in cornflour seasoned with salt, pepper, and cayenne, then fry in hot grease until done, about 3 minutes on each side. You can buy seasoned cornflour for the purpose or, if you can t find cornflour, make your own by grinding cornmeal in a blender to a finer meal. When the fish is done, put it on racks to drain, not on paper. To make hushpuppies, add the leftover cornflour and some chopped onions to the corn bread recipe (but eliminate the leavening) until the mixture is thick enough to spoon into hot oil. Fry until golden brown.

Saltwater fish such as whiting are dusted in seasoned wheat flour rather than cornflour and are served with a Creole sauce.