Mississippi’s Mighty Fish

 Mississippi’s famed Delta region in the northwest section of the state is well known for its flat agricultural expanse, its home-grown blues music, and its whiskered (and very tasty) ambassador – the catfish. If you’ve never tried catfish, you’re missing out on one of the South’s most iconic foods. This quirky-looking freshwater swimmer is found on the menu in fish shacks and at family and community gatherings all throughout the South, and particularly in Mississippi, which is the nation’s largest producer of farm-raised catfish. For traditionalists, this fish is typically deep-fried in a cornmeal coating and served with hushpuppies and coleslaw, but it also can be easily broiled, grilled or baked. We opted to try out a recipe that serves up a heaping helping of flavor with the ease that comes from throwing a pan in the oven.

MISSCatfish.046 sign



This fish is so treasured in the state that the area around Humphreys County (including the town of Belzoni) is known as the Catfish Capital of the World. Check out the annual Catfish Festival, held April 5, 2014, with its crowning of Miss Catfish.

Parmesan Crusted Catfish

  • Servings: 4-5
  • Difficulty: easy
  • Print
Recipe courtesy of The Catfish Institute, used with permission.


  • 2 tablespoons margarine
  • ½ cup grated Parmesan cheese
  • ¼ cup yellow cornmeal
  • ¼ cup all-purpose flour
  • ½ teaspoon pepper
  • 1 teaspoon Spanish paprika
  • 2 pounds catfish fillets


Preheat the oven to 400 degrees. Place margarine in a 13×9-inch baking pan and put in the oven to melt while oven is heating. Remove pan from the oven.

Mix Parmesan cheese, cornmeal, flour, pepper and paprika in a plastic bag. Add catfish fillets, one at a time, and shake to coat with the Parmesan mixture. Arrange fillets in a single layer in the prepared pan, turning once to coat with margarine. Bake for 10 to 15 minutes; then turn fish. Sprinkle remaining cornmeal/cheese mixture over fish. Bake an additional 15 minutes or until golden brown and fish flakes easily when tested with a fork.




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