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Millie Peartree's Fried Fish with Tartar Sauce

Fried Fish with Tartar Sauce

byMillie Peartree
Total 45 mins, includes cooling time
Active 35 mins
Makes 6 servings
You can’t have soul food without some good music and friends, so throw on some of your favorite tunes, and invite over your friends and family because you’ve fried up some amazingly light and crispy fish. Add your tartar sauce if you’ve got it, maybe some hush puppies, or just some sliced wheat bread and enjoy.
TIP: If reusing oil from previously fried chicken, here’s how to do it safely: once you’ve finished frying, let the oil cool. When it’s reached a safe temperature, use a utensil to remove any large pieces of batter that might be left over. Place a fine-mesh strainer or cheesecloth (even better if you use both) over the container you plan to store the oil in and strain the oil. Be careful when pouring, as there might be larger pieces of debris at the bottom of the fryer. Discard those separately.
Special Equipment
a deep-fry or candy thermometer
Special Equipment
a deep-fry or candy thermometer
Lemon Pepper Seasoning
  • 2 lemons, zested
  • 1 tablespoon freshly ground black pepper
  • 1 teaspoon garlic powder
  • 1 teaspoon onion powder
  • 1 teaspoon kosher salt
  • Pinch of cornstarch
  • 2 pounds whiting fillets (about 14 pieces) or another flaky white fish, such as cod or sole
  • 1 1/2 teaspoons seafood seasoning
  • 1/2 teaspoon freshly ground black pepper
  • 1/4 cup buttermilk
  • 1/2 cup cornmeal
  • 1/2 cup all-purpose flour
  • Vegetable oil, for frying
  • Kosher salt
  • Hush puppies, sliced wheat bread, hot sauce, and tartar sauce, for serving
    Tartar Sauce
    • 3/4 cup mayonnaise
    • 1/4 cup sweet pickle relish
    • 1/2 teaspoon garlic powder or lemon pepper seasoning
    • 1/4 teaspoon seafood seasoning
    • Juice of 1/2 lemon
      1. For the lemon pepper seasoning: In a small bowl, combine the lemon zest, black pepper, garlic powder, onion powder, salt, and a pinch of cornstarch.
      2. For the fish: Line a baking sheet with foil and place a wire rack on top. Line a second baking sheet with paper towels. Set aside.
      3. In a baking dish, lightly sprinkle the fish with 1/2 teaspoon of the seafood seasoning, 1 teaspoon of the lemon pepper seasoning and the black pepper. Add just enough buttermilk to coat your fish. Set aside.
      4. In a large paper or plastic bag, combine the cornmeal, flour, the remaining 1 teaspoon seafood seasoning, and 1/4 teaspoon of the lemon pepper seasoning. (Reserve the remaining lemon pepper seasoning for another use.)
      5. Dredge the fish in the seasoned flour mixture and place on the foil-lined baking sheet. Allow the fish to rest for 10 to 15 minutes to make sure the coating properly adheres to the fish.
      6. Heat 2 inches of oil in a Dutch oven over high heat to 375°F on a deep-fry thermometer.
      7. Working in batches (you don't want the fillets sticking together as you will lose the fry where they touch), place 2 to 3 pieces of fish in the oil and fry until golden brown, 5 to 9 minutes. Flip and cook for 1 to 2 minutes more, depending on the thickness of your fish.
      8. Transfer the fish to the paper towel-lined baking sheet to drain off any excess oil and sprinkle with salt while warm. Make sure to bring the oil temperature back up to 375°F before cooking your next batch of fish. Repeat this process until all the fish is cooked.
      9. Serve the fried fish immediately with hush puppies, bread, hot sauce, and tartar sauce.
      1. Tartar Sauce
        1. In a large bowl, whisk together the mayonnaise, sweet pickle relish, garlic powder, seafood seasoning, and lemon juice until fully combined. Use a rubber spatula to scoop out the tartar sauce into a small ramekin or bowl for everyone to enjoy on their fried fish!