Red Beans and Rice with Fried Catfish

Episode 66


Recipe Courtesy: Alton Brown


Fried Fish

1 quart peanut oil

1 cup stone-ground fine cornmeal

1 cup all purpose flour

1 teaspoon seafood seasoning (recommended: Old Bay)

1/2 teaspoon kosher salt

1/4 teaspoon hot smoked paprika

1/4 teaspoon freshly ground black pepper

6 (7 to 9-ounce) US farm-raised catfish fillets, rinsed and thoroughly patted dry

3/4 cup low-fat buttermilk


  • Heat the peanut oil in a 5-quart Dutch oven over high heat until it reaches 350 degrees F on a deep-fry thermometer. Adjust the heat to maintain the temperature.
  • Whisk the cornmeal and flour together in a shallow dish. Combine the seafood seasoning, kosher salt, paprika, and pepper in a small bowl. Season the catfish fillets evenly on both sides with the spice mixture. Pour the buttermilk into another shallow dish. Dip each fillet into the buttermilk, flip once to coat both sides, hold over the pan and allow the excess to drip off. Coat both sides of the fillets in the cornmeal mixture. Set the coated fillets on a cooling rack and let rest for 5 minutes.
  • Gently add the fillets, 2 at a time, to the hot oil and fry until golden brown, about 5 to 6 minutes. Remove the fried fillets to a cooling rack set over a newspaper-lined half sheet pan. Repeat method with remaining fillets. Arrange the catfish on a serving platter and serve immediately.



(Make three days ahead of Red Beans and Rice)

Pickled Pork:

2 cups water

1 cup apple cider vinegar

1/4 cup kosher salt

6 cloves garlic, peeled and crushed

2 tablespoons sugar

2 tablespoons yellow mustard seed

2 tablespoons hot sauce

1 tablespoon celery seed

1 bay leaf

1/4 teaspoon whole black peppercorns

8 ounces ice

1 1/2 pounds fresh boneless pork butt, cut into 2-inch cubes


  • Combine all of the ingredients except the ice and the pork in a 2-quart non-reactive saucepan, set over high heat and bring to a boil. Reduce the heat and maintain a simmer for 3 minutes. Remove from the heat, add the ice and stir. Place the pork into a 1-gallon zip top bag and add the cooled pickling liquid. Remove as much air as possible; seal the bag and place in the refrigerator for at least 3 days, turning the bag occasionally. Use within 2 weeks or remove from the pork from the brine and freeze.


Red Beans and Rice

2 tablespoons vegetable oil

1 medium onion, chopped

2 medium green bell peppers, chopped

3 stalks celery, chopped

2 teaspoons kosher salt

1 teaspoon freshly ground black pepper

5 cloves garlic, minced

12 ounces pickled pork, cut into 1-inch pieces, recipe follows

3 bay leaves

1 teaspoon dried thyme

1 teaspoon hot sauce

1/2 teaspoon cayenne pepper

2 quarts water

1 pound red kidney beans, rinsed and picked of debris

For rice:

3 cups water

1 1/2 tablespoons unsalted butter

2 cups long-grain rice

1/2 to 1 teaspoon kosher salt

  • Place the vegetable oil in a 7-quart Dutch oven and set over medium-high heat. Add the onion, bell pepper, celery, salt and pepper to the pot. Cook, stirring frequently, until the onions and celery are semi-translucent and the bell peppers are tender, 6 to 8 minutes. Add the garlic and cook for 1 to 2 minutes, stirring constantly. Add the pickled pork, bay leaves, thyme, hot sauce, cayenne pepper, water and beans to the pot and increase the heat to high. Cook, stirring frequently until the mixture comes to a boil, approximately 6 to 8 minutes. Decrease the heat to maintain a simmer, cover and cook for 1 1/2 hours, stirring every 30 minutes. Uncover, increase the heat slightly to maintain a steady simmer and continue to cook for another 30 to 40 minutes or until the beans are tender and the sauce is thickened to your liking. If you prefer an even creamier texture, mash some of the beans with a potato masher.
  • Prepare rice during the last 30 minutes of cooking the beans. Place the water into an electric kettle and bring to a boil. While the water is coming to a boil place the butter into a 3-quart saucepan, set over medium heat. Once the butter begins to bubble, add the rice and stir to combine. Add the salt and cook for 2 to 3 minutes, stirring frequently. Carefully pour the water over the rice and stir to combine. Decrease the heat to the lowest setting, cover, and cook for 15 to 20 minutes. Serve the beans over the rice.


Red Beans and Rice Recipe Courtesy: Alton Brown/Food Network

Fried Catfish Recipe Courtesy: Alton Brown/Food Network