Gannys Fried Catfish

One of my favorite Harlem restaurants, Harlem BBQ, makes excellent catfish bites that I would order to get my fix when I didn’t feel like frying catfish myself. This recipe passed down from my grandma, endearingly named “Ganny” is amazing, but if you happen to live in New York and decide to order catfish bites from Harlem BBQ instead, I fully support you.

-Cortni @heycortnay
  • 1lb of Catfish filets or nuggets if you prefer

  • ½ cup of buttermilk

  • ½ cup of water

  • Salt, pepper, to taste

  • 1 teaspoon garlic powder

  • 1 ½ teaspoon Lawrys (if this is not a staple in your cabinet, I feel sorry for your food)

  • ¼ teaspoon cayenne pepper

  • 3 teaspoons of old bay seasoning

  • ½ cups of fine cornmeal

  • ½ cup flour

  • ½ – 1 quart vegetable oil for frying (depending on how big your pan is, we used a 10-inch cast iron skillet)

  • Fresh lemon wedges

  • Hot sauce

  • Tartar sauce


Step 1: Mix buttermilk, water, salt, and pepper. Pour mixture into flat pan to hold the fillets. Coat filets with buttermilk mixture and set aside to marinade.

Step 2: Combine cornmeal, flour, old bay, garlic powder, cayenne and lawrys. Take fish out of buttermilk, pat dry with paper towels. Add the marinated fish to the cornmeal mixture and coat evenly.

Step 3: Heat oil in cast iron skillet to 350-365 degrees

Step 4: Deep fry fillets until golden brown. About 3-5 minutes on each side. Depending on how thick your filets are, you may want to up this to 5-7 minutes on each side. Drain on paper towels or set up a cookie sheet with a wire rack to dry.

Step 5: Serve with lemon, hot sauce, tartar sauce and sliced white bread.