Fried Catfish Po Boy

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  • Level: Intermediate
  • Total: 2 hr 33 min
  • Prep: 30 min
  • Inactive: 2 hr
  • Cook: 3 min
  • Yield: 6 to 8 servings
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1/2 cup (1 stick) unsalted butter

2 garlic cloves, smashed

2 long soft-crusted French bread baguettes

6 (6-ounce) catfish fillets

Sea salt and freshly ground black pepper

Sea salt and freshly ground black pepper 

1 cup milk

1 large egg

1 cup yellow corn meal

1/2 cup all-purpose flour

Pinch cayenne

Sliced pickles

1 recipe Spicy Slaw, recipe follows

Hot sauce, for serving

Lemon wedges, for serving

Canola oil, for frying

Spicy Slaw:

 1 head green cabbage, shredded

 2 carrots, grated

 1 red onion, thinly sliced

 2 green onions, chopped

 1 red chile, sliced 

11/2 cups mayonnaise 

 1/4 cup Creole mustard 

 1 tablespoon cider vinegar

 1 lemon, juiced

 Pinch sugar

 1/2 teaspoon celery seed

 Several dashes hot sauce

 Kosher salt and freshly ground black pepper

Kosher salt and freshly ground black pepper


  1. Pour about 3 inches of oil in a deep fryer or large, heavy pot and heat to 375 degrees F. Preheat the oven to 250 degrees F. 
  2. Melt the butter in a small saucepan over medium-low heat. Add the smashed garlic and swirl the pot around to infuse the garlic flavor into the butter. Slice the French bread in 1/2 lengthwise and brush the top and insides with the garlic butter. Stick the bread in the oven for 5 minutes to warm it through. 
  3. Season both sides of the catfish fillets with a fair amount of salt and pepper. In a wide bowl, mix the milk and egg together, season with salt and pepper. Mix the cornmeal, flour, cayenne, salt and pepper in a pie dish using a fork. Dip the catfish in the wet batter, then dredge in the dry; being sure to cover the fillets completely. Gently drop the fish in the hot oil in batches so the pan is not overcrowded. Fry the fillets for 3 minutes and then drain on a platter lined with paper towels; sprinkle with salt while they are still hot. 
  4. To assemble the sandwich, put the pickles across the bottom 1/2 of the bread, lay the fried catfish on top. Spoon a small mound of slaw on top of the catfish and close up the sandwich with the top 1/2 of the bread. Cut into portions and serve immediately with hot sauce and lemon on the side.

Spicy Slaw:

Yield: 8 to 10 cups
  1. Combine the cabbage, carrot, red onion, green onions, and chile in a large bowl. 
  2. In another bowl, mix the mayonnaise, mustard, vinegar, lemon juice, and sugar; stirring to incorporate. Pour the dressing over the cabbage mixture and toss gently to mix. Season the cole slaw with celery seed, hot sauce, salt, and pepper. Chill for 2 hours in refrigerator while frying the catfish. 
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