Fried-Catfish Sandwiches with Spicy Mayonnaise

Moist, juicy catfish, coated with cornmeal and fried crisp, makes a delicious sandwich on a crusty roll with peppery mayonnaise. If you're not in a sandwich mood, skip the roll, but don't hold the mayo: It makes a fine dipping sauce for the fish. Slideshow:  Tasty Sandwiches 

Fried-Catfish Sandwiches with Spicy Mayonnaise
Photo: © Erin Kunkel


  • 1/2 cup mayonnaise

  • 3/4 teaspoon fresh-ground black pepper

  • 1/8 teaspoon cayenne

  • 4 large crusty rolls, split

  • 3/4 cup cornmeal

  • 1 1/4 teaspoons salt

  • 1/2 teaspoon dried thyme

  • 2 pounds catfish fillets

  • 2 eggs, beaten to mix

  • 1/4 cup cooking oil

  • 3 cups tender greens, such as spinach or leaf lettuce (about 2 ounces)


  1. In a small bowl, combine the mayonnaise, 1/2 teaspoon of the black pepper, and the cayenne. Spread the mayonnaise mixture on the rolls.

  2. In a shallow bowl, combine the cornmeal with the salt, thyme, and the remaining 1/4 teaspoon black pepper. Dip the fillets into the beaten eggs and then into the seasoned cornmeal. Shake off the excess cornmeal.

  3. In a large nonstick frying pan, heat the oil over moderate heat. Add the cornmeal-coated fish and fry, turning once, until golden on the outside and just done in the center, about 4 minutes per side for 3/4-inch-thick fillets. Drain the fish on paper towels. Sandwich the catfish and greens in the rolls.


Fish Alternatives Substitute moderately firm, lean fillets for the catfish. Scrod, rockfish, ocean perch, haddock, or tilefish are good options.

Suggested Pairing

These laid-back catfish sandwiches will be great with beer or with a straightforward, gulpable red wine. Choose a Gamay from California or a Beaujolais from France, which is also made from the Gamay grape. Chill the wine slightly for maximum enjoyment.

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