Transform your catfish into an unforgettable seafood feast with these tasty side dishes. From creamy coleslaw to sweet cornbread, these sides are sure to delight.
Catfish is a scrumptious staple in Southern cooking. The fish is dipped in cornmeal batter and fried in bacon grease, so you can just imagine how spectacular that is!
It’s usually the main star of a fish fry, a Southern picnic-style party where people fry a ton of fish and serve a bunch of comfort foods to go with it.
With that said, no matter how tasty fried catfish is, you need to pair it with side dishes (preferably Southern) to complement its rich flavor. If you’re not familiar with flavors that go well with fried fish, you’ve come to the right place!
Here are 15 lip-smacking side dishes for catfish.
1. Cilantro Lime Rice
Fried catfish is not the heartiest of dishes, so you’ll want to serve a hearty side to go alongside it. A simple bowl of steamed rice will do the trick.
If you want to give it more flavor, add some cilantro and lime juice to it. The mild zesty flavor will cut through the richness of the fish, making them a fantastic pair.
2. Hush Puppies
Hush puppies are a Southern staple and a must-have at any fish fry. These deep-fried balls of cornmeal batter may be simple, but boy are they addictive. It’s impossible to have just one of them!
As such, you may want to consider making a healthier, guilt-free version of this dish. Instead of frying them, try baking them instead.
Pour the batter in mini-muffin cups and pop them in the oven. They may not have that delicious crunch, but they will still taste just as good.
3. French Fries
Because duh! There’s nothing like a plate of good ol’ fashioned French fries to accompany your fried catfish. The grease, the salt, the flavor – I say yes to all. Granted it’s not the healthiest of partnerships, but come on, live a little! 🙂
But okay, if you want something more diet-friendly, you can bake potato wedges instead. Sure, they won’t have that unique flavor that deep-frying provides, but they’re still yummy, especially if you load them with seasonings.
I like adding onion powder, garlic powder, and Parmesan cheese on mine.
4. Fried Green Tomatoes
Here’s another Southern staple that pairs well with catfish! I know it’s another fried dish, but what can I say, they’re delicious! And easy to make, if I may add.
Just slice those green tomatoes and dip them in cornmeal batter. And then, as you may have guessed, fry until golden.
5. Mac & Cheese
Since fried fish is crispy and flaky, why not pair it with something rich and creamy! When it comes to creamy sides, mac and cheese easily ranks at the top.
Not only will it satisfy your family’s hunger, but it will also delight their palate. Just imagining eating savory fried catfish with a bowl of creamy and cheesy pasta is already making me drool!
6. Corn Bread
To counterbalance its richness, pair your catfish with a sweet and crumbly quick bread. If you don’t want your cornbread too sweet, that’s fine, too. Just cut back on the sugar and add some jalapenos for a more savory bread.
Shred some cabbage and carrots and coat them in mayo – that’s all you need to make a scrumptious and refreshing slaw.
But hey, if you want to make a more exciting side, why not add some broccoli in there? It will add another crunchy and healthy element to the dish will accompany your catfish beautifully.
8. Cucumber Salad
Cucumbers combined with red onions, oregano, and dill, and then coated in Greek yogurt – now that sounds like a refreshing side! It will give your rich and tender catfish that cool and crisp contrast. A perfect combination indeed.
9. Salt and Vinegar Chips
Think modified fish and chips here. Salt and vinegar chips will cut through the richness of the catfish, and will also give a crunchy contrast to the meal.
And while it’s much simpler to get a bag of chips from the store, you can make things more interesting by making your own at home!
To make homemade chips, slice your potatoes as thinly as you can. It’s also super important to slice them in uniform sizes, so you’ll want to use a food processor to do the trick.
Submerge the spuds in a salt and vinegar mixture for 30 minutes, then fry until crisp and golden.
10. Mashed Cauliflower
This is another healthy alternative to an American favorite, mashed potatoes. As you know, cauliflower is a lot healthier and has fewer calories than potatoes.
But it doesn’t lack in flavor, so you’ll still have that creamy and flavorful mash minus the guilt. Top your mash with cheese, sour cream, and bacon for an even more irresistible side.
11. Corn on the Cob
Give your rich fried catfish a refreshing side by serving grilled corn on the cob. Slather that golden beauty with some butter, and season with salt and pepper. Yum!
12. Asparagus Fries
If you want a healthier alternative to the classic fries, use asparagus instead of potato. Also, instead of deep frying the spears, just pop them in the oven! I promise they’ll still be just as crisp and addictive.
Coat the asparagus in panko breadcrumbs and panko cheese for that extra crunch and flavor. Who knew something so healthy could also taste so delightful?
13. Fried Okra
Fried okra is another Southern staple that makes this otherwise slimy veggie oh so irresistible. Before you swear off okra from your life, give this simple recipe a try.
Coat okra with a cornmeal batter and deep fry until golden. I am 200% sure you will change your mind. Heck, you might even add it to your menu rotation!
14. Peach Cobbler
Now, how about another classic Southern treat for dessert? End your delicious meal with an equally delicious peach cobbler!
After that scrumptious catfish meal, I bet your taste buds will look for something refreshing, and I’m sure that a slice (or two) of peach cobbler will satisfy that craving.
Plump peaches in sweet sauce and flaky crust, topped with a buttery crumble? I won’t say no to that.
15. Homemade Ice Cream
Now here’s a fun way to end your seafood meal. Enlist the help of your kids and make some homemade ice cream!
All you need is milk, heavy cream, condensed milk, vanilla extract, salt, and patience as you wait for your ice cream to freeze.
If you want a healthier dessert, though, frozen yogurt sounds good too! If you’ve got some plain yogurt, heavy cream, and honey lying around, then you can whip up your very own froyo!
Whichever one you make, be sure to add fruits or berries to give it a refreshing flavor. Fruits give a wonderful contrast to the rich catfish meal you’re about to have, and they’re just fantastic with ice cream.