Southern Fish Fry

Paula Deen with fried catfish for fish fry

Growing up in Albany, Georgia, fish fries were a staple in Paula’s life. Numerous ponds in the area meant lots of good freshwater fishing for bass, catfish, bream, and crappie—all popular varieties for a fish fry.

“When we were invited to a dinner, it was normally a fish fry,” Paula says. “There wasn’t any scheduled time or place; it was just whenever someone had gone fishing and had a lot of luck.”

Fish fries are often a community event where friends and family gather to enjoy the day’s catch in a fun, casual atmosphere. Typically an outdoor affair, fish fries are a great way to take advantage of the warm weather. And if you’re like Paula, you know a fish fry isn’t complete without some classic summer sides. “Hush puppies are a must, along with coleslaw, pasta salad, and maybe even some grits,” says Paula. With the exception of hush puppies, try to stay away from too many fried foods. Fresh summer vegetables can round out the meal without weighing it down.

Fish fries aren’t confined to one type of fish. Depending on where you live, you’ll find different varieties used. Bass, catfish, flounder, grouper, and trout are all good options. Just choose a mild white fish, and if you’re hosting a large party, one that is readily available in large quantities. Here’s a great menu for celebrating your next big catch.

Fried Catfishfried-catfish

Oven-Fried Catfishoven-fried catfish

Crispy Hush Puppieshush-puppies

Red Cabbage Slawred-cabbage-slaw

Vegetable Pasta Saladvegetable-pasta-salad

Shortbread Blondie Barsshortbread blondie bars

Strawberry LemonadeStrawberry-Lemonade-Recipe

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