Cajun Nuggets with a Spicy Tartar Sauce

October  4, 2022
0 Ratings
  • Prep time 15 minutes
  • Cook time 15 minutes
  • Serves many as an appetizer
Author Notes

Catfish nuggets are extremely popular around these parts.When we had our small fish and seafood retail business, we would sell hundreds of pounds of these morsels to our customers weekly who would take them home and fry them up. They're a staple at church fish frys, family reunions and festivals. But you don't need to limit yourself to catfish for these...any fish you like to fry will work...I used Canadian Whitefish for mine and if you can get hold of alligator meat, you'll have a real Cajun treat! —inpatskitchen

What You'll Need
  • Spicy tartar sauce
  • 3/4 cup good quality mayo
  • 2 tablespoons dried onions which have been re-hydrated with 3 tablespoons hot water
  • 1 teaspoon dried dill weed
  • 3 tablespoons finely chopped kosher dill pickle
  • 2 teaspoons chopped capers
  • 1 tablespoon caper brine
  • 1/4 to 1 teaspoon cayenne pepper ( we do about 3/4)
  • For the nuggets
  • 1 1/2 pounds catfish nuggets or you favorite frying fish cut into 2 x 2 inch pieces ( or alligator meat which has been marinated in something like Italian dressing overnight)
  • 1 cup AP flour
  • 1 teaspoon baking soda
  • 1 teaspoon salt
  • 1 teaspoon black pepper
  • 2 teaspoons cayenne pepper
  • 1 egg, beaten
  • 3/4 to 1 cup water
  • Juice of a lemon
  • Enough vegetable or peanut oil for pan frying
  • Your favorite hot sauce for serving ( we like Cholula)
  1. Spicy tartar sauce
  2. Combine all ingredients and refrigerate for a few hours before serving.
  1. For the nuggets
  2. Whisk together the flour ,baking soda, salt, black pepper and cayenne pepper in a medium size mixing bowl.
  3. Whisk 3/4 cup water and the lemon juice with the beaten egg and then slowly whisk the wet ingredients into the dry. If the batter seems too thick, whisk in the extra 1/4 cup water ( or even more if needed)
  4. Dip the nuggets into the batter and then fry in batches in the hot oil. This should only take a few minutes per side. Drain on paper toweling.
  5. Serve the nuggets with the tarter sauce. Drizzle with the hot sauce if you like.

See what other Food52ers are saying.

  • SKK
  • inpatskitchen
  • lorigoldsby

Recipe by: inpatskitchen

I think I get my love for food and cooking from my mom, who was an amazing cook. She would start baking and freezing a month before Christmas in order to host our huge open house on Christmas afternoon. I watched and I this day I try not to procrastinate when it comes to entertaining. My cooking style is pretty much all over the place, although I'm definitely partial to Greek and Italian cuisine. Oh yes, throw a little Cajun in there too!

7 Reviews

SKK August 7, 2011
I love alligator and not yet had the courage to cook with it am so happy to see it can be used as a substitute in this recipe! Any other tips in working with alligator? This is on the menu for this week.
inpatskitchen August 7, 2011
Years ago when we had our market ( Cajun themed seafood), my dad would have an alligator loin flown up for our customers. It was very tender when cooked. Later we had to resort to frozen alligator meat and we found that if we fried it we needed to cut it up in cubes and marinate it over night in Italian salad dressing to tenderize it. My mom would often slow cook it in a picante sauce. It also makes a great sausage if you're into sausage making. Please let me know how it works out for you.
SKK August 7, 2011
Thank you! When I lived in Louisiana I had alligator tail. This is really useful information. My favorite seafood store here in Seattle carries frozen alligator meat. I asked where it comes from, and it comes from an alligator farm in Idaho, of all places. Wish I knew where to get the real deal, but Idaho alligator will have to do for this recipe.
inpatskitchen August 7, 2011
Boy, I didn't know that alligator were raised in Idaho..that's part of what I love about this learn something new every day!
SKK August 7, 2011 Here is a whole article about it - with pictures! Got to love this!
inpatskitchen August 7, 2011
So funny !! Thanks
lorigoldsby August 8, 2011
You've never heard of the feared Idahoan alligator? LOL!, yes I love this site for providing/sharing such good info (and a daily chuckle!)