James Villas wrote Southern Fried as part frying how-to, part indictment of frying detractors, and part recipe collection. Learn more.

Catawba Pecan-Crusted Catfish

  • ½ cup yellow cornmeal
  • ½ cup finely chopped pecans
  • Salt and freshly ground black pepper to taste
  • Tabasco sauce to taste
  • 6 catfish fillets (about 6 ounces each)
  • 6 tablespoons peanut oil

On a large plate, combine cornmeal, pecans, salt and pepper, and Tabasco, and mix till well blended. Dredge catfish in mixture to coat well and place on another large plate. In a large cast-iron skillet, heat 3 tablespoons of oil over moderately high heat, add 3 of the fillets, and fry till golden brown, about 4 minutes on each side. Drain on paper towels, place on a heated serving platter, and cover with foil to keep hot while frying remaining 3 fillets in remaining 3 tablespoons oil. Serve immediately.

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For several years, Our State featured recipes from the pages of community and church cookbooks from around North Carolina. These dishes continue to be among some of our most popular and enjoyed.