The summer season means friends and family gather around in backyards and parks for a good ol’ fashioned BBQ or for some, a fish fry!

Because there is nothing like fresh fish seasoned evenly and fried to perfection, we asked Grandbaby Cakes blogger Jocelyn Delk Adams at a recent HomeGoods Rituals decor event about her go-to tip for making sure her fish fry goes off without a hitch. 

“What my family does is we do an annual summer fish fry,” the Chicago native admits. “Everyone does the cookouts and we do those too but like, the fish fry, no one really does that anymore and there is nothing like it!”

As for how she pulls off an amazing fried fish platter every time, it’s about quality over quantity. 

“So 1, you got to start with really good quality fish. You can get decent quality fish frozen but go somewhere where you can get fresh fish that is flown in regularly where you know that it hasn’t been sitting around for like a week. Everything revolves around that, that is the first element—it’s got to be fresh.”

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The second component to making sure your fried fish is finger-licking good is the seasoning, of course!

“Everything else is about building flavor,” says Adams. “I make my own cornmeal mix and it’s got different spices like paprika, cayenne and lemon pepper that gives it a nice kick.”

Now no BBQ, cookout or fish fry would be complete without a healthy dose of traditional side options, like cole slaw, potato salad, and macaroni and cheese, but Adams suggests you pair fish with a more surprising dish.

“This might be very Mississippi because that’s where my people are from but we really love spaghetti,” said Adams. “We always have to have spaghetti at our fish fries. I realize now that a lot of people in Chicago are like that too and you can’t have catfish without spaghetti and that may be something that’s kind of different because some people are like, ‘wait, you guys serve spaghetti?’ but it’s really just so full of flavor that you can’t resist it.”

There you have it! Will you be serving up spaghetti with your fried fish this summer?