An Alabamian Culinary Detour

Other Cuisines

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Alabaman cuisine falls fully within the spectrum of American Southern cuisine. It is heavy on fried foods, barbecue, seafood and desserts. There are few dishes that Alabama doesn't share with the rest of the south, though several find their own style in Alabama.

For my quick sojourn into Alabamian cuisine, I made:

Alabamian Fried Catfish

Fried Catfish

Fried catfish is enjoyed not only all over the American South, but throughout the United States. I don't know that there is anything that makes it distinctively Alabaman, other that fishing and frying the catch is engraved in the memories of many Alabamians who do consider it an Alabamian dish. In Alabama and the South, catfish is breaded with buttermilk and cornmeal, something which, never having been to the South, seemed distinctive enough for me to want to try - though looking back through my website I saw that I made it once before, twelve years ago, with the same results as this time. Basically, I liked the how crunchy the dressing was and how well it adhered to the fish, but disliked how flavorless it was. It does call for relatively few spices, so that may have been the problem - maybe increasing them would have helped, though some recipes I saw called for even less. If I made it again, I would definitely salt the fish before breading it too - though, again, this is not something most recipes called for.

In Alabama, fried catfish is usually eaten with tartar sauce, and as it's a rather strong tasting sauce, it does provide the flavor that the fish does not. But I find tartar sauce too heavy to eat with fish myself. I prefer it with lemon juice, which did improve the flavor here as well.


Fried Catfish


  • 2 lbs catfish fillets
  • 1 cup buttermilk
  • 1 cup cornmeal
  • 1 cup all-purpose flour
  • 2 tsp salt
  • 1 tsp paprika
  • 1 tsp cayenne pepper
  • 1/2 tsp garlic powder
  • cooking oil for frying


Marinate the catfish fillets in the buttermilk for 15 minutes.

Mi together the cornmeal, flour, salt, paprika, cayenne pepper and garlic powder. Place into a wide plate. Press each filet into the cornmeal mixture on both sides, making sure they're fully coated. Set aside.

Heat about 1" of oil in a frying pan over medium-high heat until it reaches 350*deg;F. Working in batches, fry the catfish fillets for about 3' or until golden brown, turn and repeat. Remove to paper towels to drain. Serve with tartar sauce.

Adapted from several recipes, including this recipe at Spruce Eats

Cuisines from other states: American, Arizonan,Californian, Connecticuter, Delawarean, Floridian, Hawaiian, Idahoan, Illinoisan, Kansan, Kentuckian

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