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Catfish Fingers with Homemade Tartar Sauce and Fried Hushpuppies

Catfish Fingers with Homemade Tartar Sauce and Fried Hushpuppies

  • Yield: Serves 4 as a main course or 8 as an appetizer


  • 1/2 cup buttermilk
  • 2 tablespoons whole grain mustard
  • 1 tablespoon Emeril’s Original Essence or Creole Seasoning, plus more for sprinkling
  • 1 tablespoon Crystal hot sauce or other Louisiana hot sauce
  • 1 tablespoon minced garlic
  • 1 ½ pounds catfish fillets, trimmed of any bloodline
  • Vegetable oil, for frying
  • 1 cup all purpose flour
  • ½ cup yellow cornmeal
  • ¼ cup corn flour (masa)
  • 1 tablespoon salt
  • Homemade Tartar Sauce, for serving (recipe follows)
  • Hushpuppies, for serving
  • Lemon wedges, for serving


  • In a medium bowl, whisk together the buttermilk, mustard, Essence, hot sauce, and garlic. 

    Cut the fish into 5- or 6-inch long pieces about 1 inch wide. Add the fish strips to the bowl with the buttermilk-mustard mixture and turn so that the pieces are evenly coated. Set aside to marinate while you assemble the remaining ingredients. 

    Add enough oil to a large Dutch oven to fill it halfway. Preheat the oil to 365 degrees F over medium-high heat. 

    In a shallow bowl or in a resealable food-storage plastic bag, combine the flour, cornmeal, corn flour, and salt. Stir or shake to combine. 

    Working in batches, remove a handful of fish fingers from the marinade and dredge in the flour mixture until completely coated. Tap to remove any excess. One at a time, gently slip the fish into the hot oil. Fry until the fish is crispy and golden brown and floats on the surface of the oil, usually 3 to 4 minutes. 

    Using a slotted spoon or a spider, transfer the fried fish to paper towels or a wire rack to drain, then sprinkle lightly with Creole Seasoning and serve with tartar sauce, hushpuppies, and lemon wedges. Serve hot. 

Recipe Details