Preparation / Directions:
Rinse catfish and pat dry. Measure flour into a pie plate. Beat egg and milk together in another pie plate. In a third pie plate, combine cornmeal with cayenne, garlic powder, salt and black pepper. Coat half the fillets lightly with flour, then dip into egg mixture. Dredge fillets in seasoned cornmeal mixture.
Meanwhile, heat 4 tablespoons oil in a 10-inch frying pan (or 6 tablespoons in a 12-inch frying pan) over medium heat. Fry breaded fillets until crisp and golden brown on one side, about 3 to 4 minutes, then turn fillets over and cook until fish is opaque in center of thickest part, about 3 minutes more.
Drain fish well on paper towels. Coat and cook remaining fillets. Slice rolls on bread sections in half lengthwise. Spread the cut insides lightly with mayonnaise. Inside each roll arrange 1 fried fish filet and 1/4 of the lettuce and tomato.
Catfish has long been the star of the favorite Southern social institution, the "fish-fry". Small, thin catfish fillets fry up best. As an alternative to the crisp cornmeal coating we use here, many cooks prefer to coat their catfish in fine corn flour, equal portions corn flour and yellow cornmeal, or cornmeal and all-purpose flour. Experiment to decide which coating you like best. Additional seasonings include dry thyme or oregano, seasoned salt, paprika, lemon pepper or onion salt. Flavor the sandwich mayonnaise with minced onion, dill pickles, olives or minced fresh herbs. (or try Remoulade Sauce).