Buttermilk Fried Sugar Toads with Tarter Sauce


1 pound Atlantic Pufferfish (a.k.a. sugar toads), cleaned with skin/fins removed

1/2 cup cornmeal

1/2 cup flour

1 tablespoon Old Bay seasoning

Pinch of black pepper

1/2 teaspoon Cayenne pepper

1 cup buttermilk

1 large egg

Oil (or Crisco) for frying


Preheat oil to about a 1 1/2 inch depth in a cast-iron skillet until a thermometer reaches 375 degrees. Meanwhile, in a shallow dish mix together cornmeal, flour, Old Bay, and peppers. In another small dish, whisk together egg and buttermilk.

Pick up sugar toads by the tailfin and dip them in the buttermilk mixture and then dredge in flour mixture. Fry (being careful not to crowd the fish) in hot oil until lightly brown and crispy. Drain on paper towels or a wire rack set over a sheet pan. Lightly sprinkle fish with sea salt. Serve with tartar sauce and garnish with lemon wedges.

Homemade Tartar Sauce

Makes 1 cup

1 cup mayonnaise

2 tablespoons onion, minced

2 tablespoons sweet pickles, minced

1 teaspoon fresh lemon juice (or more, to taste)

1/2 teaspoon Worcestershire sauce

1/2 teaspoon hot sauce, more if you like it spicy

Pinch of Cajun seasoning or Old Bay seasoning

Salt and pepper, to taste

Mix all ingredients well in a small bowl. Cover and chill.