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5 Essentials for Easy Deep South Dinners

Fish and Seafood
If you like fried catfish, try it blackened with Cajun seasoning.
If you like fried catfish, try it blackened with Cajun seasoning.

Fish and seafood are a key part of the Southern diet. From the Gulf of Mexico to the Atlantic coast and all the lakes and rivers in between, fishermen bring home the catch of the day for a first-rate dinner. In coastal areas, shrimp is a must; it can be boiled, steamed, fried, grilled, baked or sautéed, and Gumbo, Jambalaya and po' boys are classic dishes that let the sweet, briny flavor of shrimp shine through. Scallops are another popular seafood that's delicious grilled or sautéed with simple seasonings, as are oysters. And even though they're a well-known source of potential foodborne illness, many Southerners love to eat raw oysters.

Perhaps the most iconically Southern of all fish is catfish, a freshwater fish that lives in many of the rivers and streams of the Deep South. The classic preparation method of catfish is breaded and fried to a golden brown before taking center stage at the dinner table. Our Southern Breaded Catfish recipe is an easy, lower-fat alternative to the standard dish, while still retaining its old-fashioned kick.

Our last stop on the food tour gets us out of the water and back on dry land.