In a mixing bowl, whisk
, mustard, hot pepper sauce, salt and cayenne together. Cut the catfish fillets
into 1-inch strips on the diagonal. Lay the pieces of fish in the milk mixture, stir to evenly distribute, cover, refrigerate, and marinate for 1 hour.
Preheat the oven to 350 degrees F.
In a mixing bowl, combine the flour, cornmeal and 3 tablespoons of the Essence. Remove the fish from the refrigerator and, working in batches, remove the fish from the marinade
(shaking to remove any excess) and dredge
in the cornmeal mixture, coating each side completely. Repeat until all fish is coated. In a large cast iron skillet, add enough vegetable oil to measure at least 1 1/2 inches up the sides of the skillet. Heat the vegetable oil
to 350 degrees F. When the oil is hot, working in batches, gently lay the fish pieces in the hot oil and fry
until golden brown and the meat is flaky
, 3 to 4 minutes. Remove the fish from the oil and drain
on a paper-lined plate. Repeat with the remaining fish. Season the fish with the remaining Essence.
While the fish is frying, cut the po'boy breads in half lengthwise and, if the bread is thick and dense, use your fingers to remove some of the inner portion of the bread on both sides to form a sort of hollowed out area for the fish. Transfer the bread to the oven and lightly toast, 3 to 5 minutes. Spread both cut sides of the bread with the mayonnaise (about 2 tablespoons per sandwich), and divide the catfish evenly among the sandwich bottoms. Spoon the Chow Chow over the catfish (about 4 tablespoons per sandwich), and garnish each sandwich with shredded lettuce, thinly sliced tomato, and sliced green pickles, if desired. Serve with hot sauce for guests to use at their own discretion.