Place the catfish strips in a nonreactive bowl. In a second bowl, whisk together the buttermilk, mustard, Essence, garlic and hot sauce and pour over the fish. Stir to thoroughly coat, cover with plastic wrap
, and refrigerate for 1 hour. Prepare the Spicy Tartar Sauce while the fish is marinating.
Preheat a deep-fryer to 350 degrees F.
Remove the fish from the refrigerator. Combine the flour, cornmeal, and salt in a resealable plastic food storage bag and shake to blend
. Using a fork, remove the fish strips, a few pieces at a time, from the marinade
, allowing excess marinade to fall from the fish. Transfer the fish to the flour-cornmeal mixture and toss to coat. Transfer to a plate and repeat with the remaining fish.
the fish, in batches, if necessary, turning to promote even browning, until golden brown, crispy, and cooked through, 3 to 4 minutes. Using a slotted spoon, transfer to a paper-lined plate to rest briefly before serving hot with the Spicy Tartar Sauce and Hushpuppies.