Recipe: How to make foolproof breaded fish fillets
Dry, wet, dry. Those are the essential steps in breadcrumb coating. Whether it be chicken or fish fillets, a light dredge or dusting of flour is the first step, thus the “dry” term. Next the “wet,” a dip in a mix of eggs and milk. And last, a good roll in breadcrumbs. Often those crumbs are panko, bits made from crustless white bread that are coarsely ground into airy, large flakes. Panko offers fried foods a light, crunchy coating.
In this recipe, the coated fish fillets are sautéed and finished with a Meyer lemon sauce augmented with capers and fresh parsley. If desired, serve the tasty fish on a bed of cooked baby spinach.
Fish Fillets with Capers and Meyer Lemons
Yield: 4 servings
4 (4-to-6-ounce) mahi mahi fillets or albacore fillets, each 1 inch thick
Salt and freshly ground black pepper to taste
All-purpose flour for dusting
2 eggs and 1/4 cup milk, beaten
2 cups panko; see cook’s notes
1 Meyer lemon, cut into supremes; see cook’s notes
4 tablespoons butter
1 tablespoon capers, drained
2 tablespoons chopped fresh Italian parsley
3 tablespoons vegetable or canola oil, plus additional oil if needed
Optional for serving: Cooked spinach; see cook’s notes
Cook’s notes: Panko is Japanese dry breadcrumbs. It’s sold at most supermarkets. To cut the lemon into supremes (peeled segments cut to remove membranes), start by removing peel; cut a slice off top and bottom of lemon, and then cut off peel in strips following the contour of the lemon, removing the white pith along with the peel. Next, using a sharp paring knife, cut alongside the membranes to remove sections from membranes. Reserve membrane bundle (the now flesh-free remains from which the segments have been removed).
This dish is delicious served on bed of cooked spinach. Buy one 10-ounce container of baby spinach leaves. Place leaves in microwave-safe bowl, sprinkle with tiny bit of water (less than 1 teaspoon), cover with plastic wrap, vent with tiny hole and microwave 2 to 3 minutes. Be careful when you remove plastic; open it away from you to prevent burns. Season with salt and a little balsamic vinegar.
1. Season fish with salt and pepper. Dust each fillet with flour, then dip in egg-milk mixture, then in panko. Set on plate or platter and refrigerate while you prepare lemons.
2. After cutting lemon into supremes (see cook’s notes), the membrane bundle can be squeezed and used as a source of juice. Squeeze membrane bundle over a small saucepan to extract juice; discard membrane bundle. Add butter to saucepan. Place pan over medium-low heat; stirring, to melt butter. When butter has melted, add lemon sections, capers, and parsley; set aside.
3. Heat oil in large, deep ovenproof skillet over medium-high heat. Add fillets in single layer. Cook until nicely browned, 2 to 4 minutes. Turn with spatula; cook until nicely browned on other side, adding more oil if needed. Test in middle of thickest part of 1 fillet (cut into fish and see if it’s consistently opaque). If fish isn’t cooked through, place in 350-degree oven for 4 to 8 minutes.
4. If using, place spinach on 4 dinner plates and top with fish. Heat sauce and spoon on fish.
Cooking question? Contact Cathy Thomas at [email protected]