When I was a kid, my Granddad would take us fishing quite regularly. We would get up at the crack of dawn and go to the beach, casting our lines and seeing what we came up with. Oftentimes, it was nothing, and our trips would end at Dunkin for conciliation donuts. While these trips were fun, the highlight was going deep sea fishing every summer. It was a family affair, in which ten or fifteen of us would head down to the docks, board the party boat, and eat our bagels as we sailed out. These trips were memorable — like the time my uncle caught a fishing pole, or my sister caught a crab — but we didn’t always catch enough flounder to make a meal of it. So, we’d head to the food store, buy extra fillets, and go back to the house where we would fry it all up and sit around recounting tales of the day.
Earlier this week, when I decided I’d make fish for dinner, I planned on doing what has become the norm for me — cook it in a broth, served with some sort of fruit salsa. But then my husband asked, “Can you make it garlic crusted? They have it at the Farmer’s Market and it’s delicious!” Now, I’d never heard of garlic crusted tilapia, and a Google search wasn’t particularly helpful. I’m creative in the kitchen, though. So, remembering what we used to do with the fresh-from-the-ocean flounder, I decided pan frying with garlic couldn’t be that difficult.
And let me tell you, this worked so well. The crust was crunchy and flavorful, but it didn’t overpower the fish. The lemon butter sauce added a touch of brightness. For me, it was simply a grown-up version of those fish fries of my childhood. My husband deemed it “even better than the Farmer’s Market” (that’s a big deal for him — the Farmer’s Market was pretty much the be all and end all of seafood in his mind, so coming anywhere close to that level is quite a compliment). Overall, this was a success. We will, without a doubt, be making this again!
Garlic Crusted Tilapia with Lemon Butter Sauce
- 2 tilapia fillets (any white fish would work)
- ½ cup bread crumbs (I used 4C Gluten Free)
- 3 cloves garlic, minced
- 1 tsp lemon zest
- Salt & Pepper, to taste
- 1 tbsp dried parsley
- 2 egg yolks
- ¼ cup milk
- ¼ cup potato starch
- Vegetable oil
- 2 tbsp butter
- 1 tbsp lemon juice
- Combine bread crumbs, garlic, lemon zest, salt, pepper, and parsley in a pie plate. Make sure the ingredients are all stirred together so you don’t end up with a clump of garlic.
- Beat together egg yolks and milk, and place in a pie plate.
- Put potato starch on a plate.
- Dredge each filet in the potato starch, place it into the egg wash, then coat with bread crumb mixture. Pat the mixture firmly onto the filets to help ensure it won’t fall off during cooking. Let it sit for a few minutes.
- While the fish sets, heat enough oil to cover a shallow, heavy bottomed pan over medium heat. Once the oil has come to temperature, fry the fish until the coating is golden and the fish is white throughout. Flip once during cooking. When done, transfer to a plate with a paper towel to absorb any excess oil.
- Meanwhile, melt the butter in a small saucepan, and whisk in lemon juice.
- Serve fish hot, along with sauce.