Catfish Atchafalaya is a unique combination of Southern Fried Catfish, smothered in Crawfish Étouffée, and served with Green Onion Rice. It is a five-star meal that is easy to enjoy at home.

Catfish Atchafalaya is a recipe from a restaurant called Walk-Ons that we used to go to all the time in Louisiana. (There’s actually one near my parents’ house in Florida now!)

It sounds strange, but it is a delicious meal of fried catfish that is smothered in crawfish étouffée and served with green onion rice or white rice. It is a great way to use some leftover crawfish étouffée and rice – just fry up some fish fillets and smother them in that creamy crawfish sauce – so good!

a white plate with fried catfish, crawfish etouffee, and green onion rice on it
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🥘 Ingredients Needed

Southern Fried Catfish

  • Catfish Fillets (Fresh is best – fish, of course, will smell fishy, but it shouldn’t smell awful. If it doesn’t smell right, ask for a second opinion before cooking it.)

Wet Ingredients

  • Eggs
  • Buttermilk – You can also use regular milk or water.
  • Hot Sauce – I like to use Tabasco.

Dry Ingredients

  • Cornmeal – I like to use my homemade cornmeal.
  • Whole Wheat Flour – You can also use All-Purpose Flour, but I like the grittiness of wheat flour.
  • Seasoning Salt, Paprika, Black Pepper, & Optional – Cayenne Pepper
  • Lemon Pepper Seasoning – You can either buy this or make it – I like to make it by dehydrating lemon peels, then grinding them in a spice grinder with black peppercorns.

Crawfish Étouffée

  • Salted Butter
  • Diced Bacon – I like to use thick-cut bacon for this recipe – the fat really adds a lot of flavor as crawfish are pretty lean on their own.
  • Diced Celery
  • Diced Onion – I like to use a yellow onion for this recipe.
  • Diced Green Bell Pepper
  • Minced Garlic
  • Tony Chachere’s Creole Seasoning – If you don’t have Tony’s, you can make your own Creole Seasoning.
  • Flour (I used All-Purpose Flour to make this post, but I have made it Gluten-Free using Arrowroot Powder or Tapioca Starch in the past)
  • Chicken Broth or Stock (or Seafood Stock)
  • Tomatoes – We like to use diced, fresh tomatoes but you can use canned tomatoes, tomato paste, or tomato sauce. (Tomatoes are a common ingredient in Creole cuisine – Cajun food will often not use tomatoes.)
  • Kosher Salt
  • Dried Thyme
  • Dried Parsley
  • Worcestershire Sauce
  • Heavy Cream
  • Louisiana Crawfish Tails – Try to find crawfish tails from Louisiana – it will say where it is from on the front of the package. (A lot of crawfish tails are actually brought in from China, and Chinese crawfish just aren’t the real deal.) You can also use leftover crawfish tail meat from a crawfish boil.

For Serving

  • Hot Cooked Rice – We like to use Green Onion Rice or plain cooked white rice.
  • Sliced Green Onions or Fresh Parsley
  • Toasted French Bread

Green Onion Rice

  • Salted Butter
  • Diced Onion
  • Diced Celery
  • Chopped Green Onions
  • Fresh Parsley
  • Kosher Salt
  • Black Pepper
  • Water
  • Long-Grain White Rice (Rinsed) – I like to use any kind of long-grain white rice. Most sticky, short-grain rice varieties will get really mushy in when cooked for a while in the Instant Pot, but long-grain rice holds up really well. I don’t like rice like jasmine or basmati in this context because they have a strong aromatic flavor, so I stick to just plain old Mahatma white rice.

🥣 How to Make It

Catfish Atchafalaya is a unique combination of fried catfish, crawfish étouffée, and green onion rice (or white rice.)

I like to prepare the Crawfish Étouffée first, then dredge and bread my catfish.

While my catfish fillets are resting in the refrigerator and my oil is heating up, I start the green onion rice in my Instant Pot. The rice should be done around the same time that the catfish fillets are done cooking.

When everything is finished, serve a scoop of green onion rice with a fillet of catfish:

a white plate with fried catfish, crawfish etouffee, and green onion rice on it with a pot of crawfish etouffee

Then smother with a scoop of Crawfish Étouffée. It is so good!

a white plate with fried catfish, crawfish etouffee, and green onion rice on it with a pot of crawfish etouffee

Variations on Catfish Atchafalaya

There are different variations of Catfish Atchafalaya depending on who makes it and where you get it.

  • You can top it with fried crawfish tails.
  • You can replace the crawfish étouffée with an au gratin sauce.
  • You can blacken the catfish.

Our version of Catfish Atchafalaya is so delicious. It is easily one of my favorite dinners and it could easily be served in a 5-star restaurant.

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a white plate with fried catfish, crawfish etouffee, and green onion rice on it

Storage & Shelf Life

All of the parts of Catfish Atchafalaya have different shelf lives:

Catfish: If you don’t finish fried fish in one meal, store it in an air-tight container in the refrigerator after letting it cool. I like to reheat it in the air-fryer to crisp it back up – if you do not have an air-fryer, you can use the toaster oven or the regular oven, just put some foil under the fish to catch any drippings so you don’t end up with a toaster that permanently smells like fish. If you aren’t going to be able to finish all of your fried fish, you can freeze it, just be sure to put the fish in an air-tight container or plastic bag. (Vacuum seal it if you can – this will prevent freezer burn.)

Green Onion Rice: Green onion rice, much like most cooked rice, will only be good for a few days. My favorite way to reheat rice is to cover it with a damp towel and microwave it on low heat. Stir, then repeat once or twice. This will add moisture back into the rice and make it soft again.

Crawfish Étouffée: Leftovers can be stored in an airtight container in the refrigerator for 2-3 days. It can be reheated over low heat, but do not overcook it as the crawfish will get tough. If you are not going to eat all of the étouffée within 2-3 days, you can freeze it for several months. Let it defrost in the refrigerator then reheat on the stove over low heat.

Have You Tried This Recipe?

Please rate it and leave a comment below. I would love to hear what you think!

a white plate with fried catfish, crawfish etouffee, and green onion rice on it

Catfish Atchafalaya

5 from 8 votes
Catfish Atchafalaya is a unique combination of Southern Fried Catfish, smothered in Crawfish Étouffée, and served with Green Onion Rice. It is a five-star meal that is easy to enjoy at home.
Author: Kari
Servings: 4 people
Prep: 15 minutes
Cook: 1 hour
Total: 1 hour 15 minutes

Instructions 

  • I like to prepare the Crawfish Étouffée first, then dredge and bread my catfish.
  • While my catfish fillets are resting in the refrigerator and my oil is heating up, I start the green onion rice in my Instant Pot. The rice should be done around the same time that the catfish fillets are done cooking.
  • When everything is finished, serve a scoop of green onion rice with a fillet of catfish.
    a white plate with fried catfish, crawfish etouffee, and green onion rice on it with a pot of crawfish etouffee
  • Then smother with a scoop of Crawfish Étouffée. It is so good!
    a white plate with fried catfish, crawfish etouffee, and green onion rice on it with a pot of crawfish etouffee

Notes

Storage/Reheating
All of the parts of Catfish Atchafalaya have different shelf lives:
Catfish: If you don’t finish fried fish in one meal, store it in an air-tight container in the refrigerator after letting it cool. I like to reheat it in the air-fryer to crisp back up – if you do not have an air-fryer, you can use the toaster oven or the regular oven, just put some foil under the fish to catch any drippings so you don’t end up with a toaster that permanently smells like fish. If you aren’t going to be able to finish all of your fried fish, you can freeze it, just be sure to put the fish in an air-tight container or plastic bag. (Vacuum seal it if you can – this will prevent freezer burn.)
Green Onion Rice: Green onion rice, much like most cooked rice, will only be good for a few days. My favorite way to reheat rice is to cover it with a damp towel and microwave it on low heat. Stir, then repeat once or twice. This will add moisture back into the rice and make it soft again.
Crawfish Étouffée: Leftovers can be stored in an airtight container in the refrigerator for 2 – 3 days. It can be reheated over low heat, but do not overcook it as the crawfish will get tough. If you are not going to eat all of the étouffée within 2 – 3 days, you can freeze it for several months. Let it defrost in the refrigerator then reheat on the stove over low heat.

Special Equipment Needeed

Nutrition information is approximate and is automatically calculated, so should only be used as a guide.

Course: Dinner, Main Course
Cuisine: Cajun, Southern
Keyword: catfish atchafalaya, cornmeal fried catfish, crawfish etouffee, green onion rice
Did you make this recipe?Mention @southernbytes or tag #southernbytes!

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Hi, I'm Kari!

I am a newlywed, food blogger, health coach, and mama to a hot mess of a border collie. I love to put a new spin on old family recipes and I try to make as many meals as possible with an Instant Pot.

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    1. Sorry for the confusion – when I originally posted this, I thought it would be easier for people to go to the catfish post, the etouffee post, and the rice post to print those individually. I realize now that’s confusing and a pain in the butt, so I’ve added all three here! Hopefully, that helps!