Lake Norman Magazine

An Ode to a Restaurant Past

Salt and pepper catfish
Salt and pepper catfish Richard Rudisill

Ever had one of those amazing, life changing meals at a restaurant? A meal so good you could eat it every day, or at least once a

week. Then one day the dish isn’t on the menu anymore, or worse yet the restaurant has closed its doors...forever. First sadness, then

the overall panic...”I will never, ever be able to eat this, ever, ever again!” Tears may ensue, even anger; none of it will bring your dish

back. That is unless someone gives you the “original” recipe, or you make it your life’s work to recreate it right in your own kitchen.

This very thing happened to me. My favorite meal, ever...of all time, was the salt and pepper catfish served with vinegar slaw at

Laney’s Fish Camp in Mooresville, NC. Unfortunately nothing last forever, and after almost fifty years they decided enough was enough

and closed up shop. A total loss, not only to the culinary landscape of that area but to the community.

I am not going to say the recipes below are as good as Laney’s were, but they are close. I had a Laney’s family member tell me that

I am not even close...and I have to agree. It will only partially fill the void left by not having this one of a kind fish camp in my back

yard. But, I had to give it a shot and you should too. Even if it isn’t quite as good as the original it is still pretty darn good.

For more great recipes from Chef Troy visit and be sure to watch Troy on WCCB Charlotte’s Rising morning show

every Tuesday morning from 7-9 am for “Troy’s Everyday Eats” cooking show.

Salt and Pepper Catfish

4-8 Ounce-Catfish Filets

2 Cups-Buttermilk

2 Cups-Cornmeal

1 Cup-All Purpose Flour

2 Tablespoons-Kosher Salt-plus extra

3 Tablespoons-Black Pepper-plus extra

1 Quart-Corn Oil

To Taste-Lemon Wedges or Tater Sauce


1. Preheat oil in a deep fat fryer/dutch oven to 360 degrees.

2. Place buttermilk in a flat dish.

3. Combine cornmeal, flour, salt/pepper in a large flat container.

4. Season catfish on both sides with salt/pepper.

5. Dredge catfish in buttermilk, let excess drip off and place in cornmeal.

6. Pat to coat both sides completely, shake off excess and place in fryer.

7. Cook until golden brown, about 3-5 minutes.

8. Serve hot with lemon wedges or tater sauce.

Vinegar Slaw

4 Cups-Cabbage-core removed and sliced thin

1⁄4 Cup-White Vinegar

1 Each-Fresh Lemon-1/2 juice of, half cut into wedges

3 Tablespoons-Vegetable Oil

To Taste-Kosher Salt/Black Pepper


1. Combine vinegar, lemon, oil in a bowl.

2. Add cabbage, season with salt/pepper and toss to combine.

3. Place in refrigerator for at least one hour.

4. Serve cold with lemon wedges.