Coast Cooking

Fried catfish is often featured on the Southern diner menu

Perfectly fried catfish is most always found in Deep South diners.
Perfectly fried catfish is most always found in Deep South diners. Special to the Sun Herald

The food you find in an American diner varies by region.

Almost anywhere in the South you will find a fried catfish platter on the menu.

If you are in a region where a lot of Catholics live, such as the Gulf Coast, then the catfish platter might be the Friday (meatless) special.

If you are in the Mississippi Delta, you might note that a lot of the menus proudly announces Simmons catfish is served at that establishment.

Many people in the Delta think Simmons is the gold standard. I have visited the factory, and it is pretty impressive. Give it a try if you ever get the chance, I think you will agree.

So what goes best with fried catfish? Lots of sides work well, but a good coleslaw tops the list.

The best cole slaw always starts with the best quality mayonnaise, a little good quality vinegar and just a touch of sugar. Black pepper is essential, and some people like caraway seeds and perhaps a pinch or two of red pepper flakes.

Venture forth and give this much underrated fish another chance.

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