Celebrate coastal flavors with this pan-fried catfish with stewed tomatoes and okra

The American southern style of cuisine referred to as Lowcountry cooking is defined by ingredients that are grown and harvested in the coastal area between Georgia and South Carolina. It’s the original farm-to-table style of dining!

Crab, catfish, shrimp and oysters are some of my favorite Lowcountry ingredients, along with okra, tomatoes and rice. This dish is a culmination of the regional cuisine and comes together pretty quickly. Pan frying creates fish that is tender and succulent inside, with a slightly crispy exterior.


Recipe: Pan-fried catfish with stewed tomatoes and okra 


4 servings

Prep Time

10 minutes

Cook Time

20 minutes


Pan-Fried Catfish 

4 catfish fillets or steaks

Sea salt and freshly ground black

pepper to taste

1 tablespoon cayenne pepper

1 tablespoon smoked paprika

1 teaspoon ground thyme

1 cup all-purpose flour

¼ cup vegetable oil

Stewed Tomatoes and Okra 

1 large white onion, sliced

1 clove garlic, minced

1 cup crushed tomatoes, including the juice

3 sprigs fresh thyme

Sea salt and freshly ground black pepper to taste

1 pound fresh okra, sliced

Serving Suggestions 

Carolina Gold rice, Jasmine rice 


  1. Place the catfish on a clean plate and season on both sides with sea salt and freshly ground black pepper to taste, cayenne pepper, smoked paprika and ground thyme. Rub the spices into the fish with clean hands and set aside. Add the flour to a paper bag, then add the fish and gently shake the bag to evenly coat the fish. Remove the fish from the bag, shake off any excess flour, and set aside.
  2. In a large cast iron skillet, heat the vegetable oil over medium-high heat. When the oil is hot, add the fish and cook for 3 minutes on both sides. Place on a bed of paper towels to absorb any excess oil.
  3. In the same pan, add the onion and garlic and cook for 3 minutes. Add the tomatoes, thyme sprigs, and a pinch of sea salt and freshly ground black pepper. Stir and cook for 3–4 minutes. Add the okra and stir to combine. Cook for 3–4 minutes. Taste for seasoning and adjust as needed.
  4. Divide the catfish fillets among 4 plates and top with the tomato & okra mixture along with a scoop of rice if desired. Serve immediately.


If you liked this recipe, be sure to check out Chef Stephanie Harris-Uyidi’s newest cookbook, “Going Coastal!: 200+ Coastally Inspired Seafood Recipes From Around the Globe” from Posh One Media. 

Want a salad on the side? Try these Salon-approved recipes: 


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