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Catfish With Chili Cornmeal Crust Recipe

Serve this crusted catfish recipe with your choice of topping – a sweet pepper, corn and bacon relish, or a creamy horseradish sauce.

Catfish With Chili Cornmeal Crust Recipe

The catfish in this recipe can be substituted with walleye fillets. (Photo courtesy of Chef Lucia Watson)

Print Recipe

The sweet pepper, corn and bacon relish is a classic with any fried fish, particularly during the summer, when corn and peppers are fresh and super-sweet. Horseradish Sour Cream Sauce is also delicious with fried fish.

Serves: 1-2
Prep time: 20 minutes
Cook time: 15 minutes


  • 2 (8-ounce) catfish fillets, rinsed in cold water and patted dry
  • ½ cup cornmeal
  • ½ cup flour
  • ¼ teaspoon chili powder
  • ½ cup fresh lemon juice
  • Salt
  • Pepper
  • 2 tablespoons vegetable oil, bacon fat or an inch of oil

Sweet Pepper, Corn & Bacon Relish:

  • 2 cups sliced green, red and yellow peppers
  • 1 small red onion, diced
  • 3 slices bacon, finely diced
  • 2 ears corn (slice kernels off cobs), about 2 cups
  • 1 tablespoon fresh thyme
  • 1 tablespoon fresh chives

Horseradish Sour Cream Sauce:

  • 1 cup sour cream
  • 2 tablespoons prepared horseradish
  • Juice of ½ lemon
  • Salt
  • Pepper


  1. In a bowl, combine cornmeal, flour, chili powder, salt and pepper. Dip each catfish fillet in lemon juice first and then the cornmeal mixture, carefully dusting each side of the fillets.
  2. Heat the fat (vegetable oil) in a heavy-bottomed skillet until it just starts to smoke. Put the fillets in the fat and cook for about 5 minutes until golden brown.
  3. Turn fillets and continue to cook for about 5 minutes on the other side. If deep frying, cook the fillets without turning, about 7 to 8 minutes or until golden brown.
  4. Remove fish and set aside to garnish.
  5. To make the relish: Place bacon in a heavy-bottomed saucepan. Cook until the fat starts to render and the bacon gets crispy. Immediately add peppers, onion and corn. Cook over high heat stirring constantly, until the veggies are still crispy but warmed through. Add herbs and taste for final seasoning.
  6. To prepare the Horseradish Sour Cream Sauce: mix all ingredients (sour cream, horseradish, lemon juice, salt and pepper) and set aside.
  7. Top the recipe with your choice of horseradish cream sauce or sweet pepper, corn and bacon relish.

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