Monday, April 5, 2010

Catfish Dilly Days

When I was a young girl my Grannie always took my little brother and me to Piccadilly. No, not the major street in London, but the chain of cafeteria style restaurants found primarily in the South. It was my favorite place to dine with her and I got the same exact meal every time - The Catfish Dilly with macaroni and cheese, French fries, and the soft roll. Very balanced, right?

Later in life, even after Grannie had passed I found another partner to dine at Piccadilly with on a regular basis. After college, my old college roommate and I were in Grad school at different Universities and we wanted to find a way to keep in touch and stay current on each others lives. Lauren and I met every Tuesday at Piccadilly for lunch. Even though several years had passed and my palate had definitely matured, I still got the same meal from my childhood - The Catfish Dilly with macaroni and cheese, French fries, and a soft roll. What can I say? I like nostalgia, or maybe I just LOVE catfish. This recipe had a very similar crust to the Piccadilly catfish and I couldn't help but think of all the special meals I had at the caloric cafeteria with those two special people in my life.

Cornmeal Crusted Fried Catfish
Adapted from Cooking Light April 2010


  • 8 cups peanut oil
  • 6 (6-ounce) catfish fillets
  • 1/2 teaspoon salt
  • 1/4 teaspoon pepper
  • 9 ounces all-purpose flour, divided (about 2 cups)
  • 1 1/4 cups cornmeal
  • 1 teaspoon of cayenne pepper
  • 1 teaspoon freshly ground black pepper
  • 2 cups buttermilk
  • 2 large eggs

1. To prepare catfish, clip a candy/fry thermometer to a Dutch oven; add oil to pan. Heat oil to 385°.

2. Sprinkle fillets evenly with 1/2 teaspoon salt and 1/4 teaspoon pepper. Place 4.5 ounces (1 cup) flour in a shallow dish. Combine remaining 4.5 ounces (1 cup) flour, cornmeal, cayenne and black pepper in a shallow dish. Combine 2 cups buttermilk and 2 eggs in a shallow dish. Dredge fillets in flour;

dip in buttermilk mixture.

Dredge in cornmeal mixture; shake off excess breading.

Place 2 fillets in hot oil; cook 5 minutes or until done, turning occasionally.

Make sure oil temperature does not drop below 375°. Remove fillets from pan using a slotted spoon or spider; drain on paper towels. Return oil temperature to 385°. Repeat procedure twice with remaining fillets.

3. Serve filets hot with lemon wedges.

Click Here for My Adapted Printable Recipe


Suzy said...

Funny the things you miss. Living out here in the Pacific Northwest there aren't a lot of cafeteria style fact I'm not aware of any! Picadilly was a big part of my growing up and they did have very good catfish there. My to go meal though was the fried chicken, macaroni and cheese and the dessert like carrot souffle! Your catfish looks great. Thanks for stirring up some happy food memories.

teresa said...

my husband has been asking for catfish cooked this way for a while now. i should really make this for him. great recipe!

jphabear said...

Wow. This is weird. This is totally what I have gotten every time I've gone to Piccadilly, too! Their catfish is so thin and crispy and crusty. It's the bomb dot com. I will have to try this method. Thanks Elizabeth!

Woody said...
This comment has been removed by the author.
Woody said...

You love to fry stuff. If I was there I am sure we would have tossed in everything we could find into the grease (onions, potatoes, sausage, and maybe some ice cream for dessert). This recipe looks very yummy.

I know you are coming up on your two year Blog-Anniversary since yesterday was our two year wedding anniversary.

Happy Anniversaries!


The Husband

Pam said...

Oh, this looks and sounds delicious!

Anonymous said...

Aww picadilly memory brought tears to my eyes!! Congrats on your anniversaries!! Xoxo Lou

Krista said...

Very sweet post. I love fried catfish. The next time I find some on sale, I'm making this! It looks and sounds wonderful.

Sush said... parents loved to eat there! My husband was a huge fan of their fried catfish! And I find it so interesting that starchy, creamy and fried is always the top thing for most of us to get when at a cafeteria!
You always find just the right way to invoke happy memories of New Orleans and the best recipes of our special foods!

Mary said...

Elizabeth, your fish looks delicious. This is my first visit to your blog. I found it by accident but will be back often. I hope you are having a wonderful day. Blessings...Mary

Julie said...

I just saw Alton Brown frying catfish and now this; I've got a serious craving now!

The Chef In My Head said...

I still haven't decided what to make for dinner, this looks really yummy!!! Love the story! ~LeslieMichele