Pan-Fried Catfish, Pass Manchac-Style, with Spicy Tartar Sauce and Hushpuppies

  • Level: Advanced
  • Total: 1 hr 24 min
  • Prep: 20 min
  • Inactive: 1 hr
  • Cook: 4 min
  • Yield: 4 servings
Share This Recipe


1 1/2 pounds catfish fillets, cut on the diagonal into thin strips

1/2 cup buttermilk

2 tablespoons Creole mustard

1 tablespoon Essence, recipe follows

1 tablespoon minced garlic

2 teaspoons red hot sauce

Spicy Tartar Sauce, for serving, recipe follows

1 cup all-purpose flour

2/3 cup cornmeal

1 tablespoon salt

Vegetable oil, for frying

Emeril's ESSENCE Creole Seasoning (also referred to as Bayou Blast):Emeril's ESSENCE Creole Seasoning (also referred to as Bayou Blast):

2 1/2 tablespoons paprika

2 tablespoons salt

2 tablespoons garlic powder

1 tablespoon black pepper

1 tablespoon onion powder

1 tablespoon cayenne pepper

1 tablespoon dried oregano

1 tablespoon dried thyme

Spicy Tartar Sauce:

1 cup mayonnaise

2 1/2 tablespoons finely chopped cornichons

1 tablespoon minced drained capers

2 teaspoons minced green onions

1 teaspoon freshly minced parsley leaves

1 teaspoon chopped chives

1 teaspoon minced fresh tarragon

1 teaspoon Creole or Dijon mustard

1 teaspoon lemon juice 

Salt and freshly ground white pepper

1/4 teaspoon cayenne pepper

Red hot sauce, to taste (recommended: Emeril's), or your favorite Louisiana hot sauce


2 eggs, beaten

Vegetable oil, for frying

1 cup buttermilk

1 cup yellow cornmeal

1 cup all-purpose flour

1 large onion, grated

2 teaspoons sugar

1 1/2 teaspoons salt

1 1/4 teaspoons Essence

1 teaspoon baking powder

1 teaspoon baking soda

1/2 teaspoon freshly ground black pepper

1/2 cup finely chopped green onions

2 jalapenos, seeded and minced


  1. 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.
  2. Preheat a deep-fryer to 350 degrees F.
  3. 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.
  4. Fry 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.

Emeril's ESSENCE Creole Seasoning (also referred to as Bayou Blast):Emeril's ESSENCE Creole Seasoning (also referred to as Bayou Blast):

  1. Combine all ingredients thoroughly.
  2. Recipe from "New New Orleans Cooking", by Emeril Lagasse and Jessie Tirsch
  3. Published by William Morrow, 1993.

Spicy Tartar Sauce:

  1. In a nonreactive mixing bowl combine the mayonnaise, cornichons, capers, green onions, parsley, chives, tarragon, mustard, lemon juice, salt, pepper, and cayenne pepper and stir to blend. Season with hot sauce, to taste. Refrigerate in a nonreactive bowl, covered, until ready to use.


  1. Preheat the vegetable oil in a deep-fryer to 375 degrees F.
  2. While the oil is heating, combine the cornmeal, flour, sugar, salt, Essence, baking powder, baking soda and black pepper in a mixing bowl and whisk to combine. In a second mixing bowl, whisk together the eggs, buttermilk, grated onion, green onions and jalapenos. Add the wet ingredients to the dry ingredients and stir just until a batter comes together. Be careful not to overmix.
  3. When the oil is hot, drop the batter by 1 1/2 tablespoons into the hot oil and fry, turning occasionally, until golden brown on all sides and cooked through, 3 to 4 minutes. Remove using a slotted spoon and let rest on a paper towel-lined plate briefly before serving hot. Repeat with remaining batter.
  4. about 2 1/2 dozen hushpuppies