Pan Seared Catfish

“Pan Seared Catfish” 

Submitted by: 

Briana Myers,
Department of Anthropology, Brooklyn College, City University of New York 

Ethnographic Info: 

Catfish (usually Channel catfish, Ictalurus punctatus) is a common fish eaten in the southern United States. While it was previously considered a low status fish (“folklore” says that captives on southern plantations would fish for them in local rivers to supplement their rations) it has recently become “fashionable” in many local restaurants. Farm raised catfish is currently the largest commercial export from the state of Mississippi. This recipe is great for students because it is fast and catfish is not too expensive (yet!).


  • Catfish Fillets (medium sized – one per person) 
  • 1 tbsp butter per fillet 
  • Cracked black pepper 
  • Ground white pepper 
  • Sage 
  • Quartered lemons 


Melt butter in skillet over medium heat. Add black pepper (as much as you like, I like a LOT), white pepper and sage to pan. Arrange fillets in pan, squeeze lemon over the top. Cook approximately 3 minutes on each side until no longer pink in center. Do not try to flip the fillets until three minutes have passed or they may crumble around the edges. If you have the time and inclination this goes great with wild mushroom risotto and steamed broccoli. (But boiled potatoes with butter work well too!)