It always amazes me when I tweet what I made for dinner, and get comments like “do you cook that every day” or “when should we be over?”. I often don’t have inspiration, which is why we eat at 9:00 at night (that and the 7:00 Simpsons when I get home from work…). Last night’s meal seemed to get some interest, so I thought it’d be a good blog post. If you have decent knife skills, you could have this on the table in 30-45 minutes.
Fish, as I mentioned, is always best cooked simply. It also is quick-cooking, making it an excellent weeknight meal. This recipe uses tilapia fillets, since that’s what we had in the freezer, but probably any fish will work. The key to making the fish crispy is using cornmeal instead of flour.
Stephanie liked the salsa, but I thought it wasn’t very bright, so I think I’d use more lemon juice, and less blood orange juice. However, I have it here as I prepared it last night.
Again, I don’t measure my ingredients, so everything here is “to taste” or “what I have left in the fridge”.
Crispy Tilapia with Blood Orange-Avocado Salsa
For the Fish:
2 tilapia fillets
Egg wash – one egg mixed with a bit of water (maybe a teaspoon?).
Panko bread crumbs
Salt, pepper, garlic powder
For the Salsa:
One avocado, ripe, split in half and removed using a checkerboard pattern.
12-15 grape tomatoes, quartered
1/4 of a jalapeno pepper (or to taste; this was fairly mild. also depends on the heat of the pepper)
juice of 1 blood orange
juice of 1/2 a lemon
fresh ginger, minced (to taste)
fresh mint leaves
Make the salsa:
In a bowl, mix the chunked avocado, tomatoes, jalapeno, and juice. Finely dice or mince the ginger (I probably used an inch-long piece), and add. Chop the herbs (make sure they’re fresh!), and add in (I used far more cilantro than mint, as mint can easily overpower). Add salt and pepper to taste. Set aside.
Prep the fish:
On a paper plate, measure out some cornmeal to coat the fish; add salt and pepper to the cornmeal and mix. In a bowl, whisk together the egg, water, salt and pepper till the egg is scrambled, like you’d make an omelette. On a second paper plate, measure out the panko to cover the fish, add salt, pepper, and garlic powder and mix. Place all three in the order listed in line on your counter, preferably close to the stove.
Heat a non-stick pan on medium-high heat. When hot, add enough canola oil to cover the bottom of the pan. Dip each fillet first into the cornmeal, then the egg wash, and finally the bread crumbs, ensuring the fish is evenly covered with each; however, you should tap or shake off any excess of each ingredient so it doesn’t clump.
Add each fillet to the pan, and cook until golden brown on each side, approximately 3-4 minutes per side.
I serve the salsa on the side, so the crust doesn’t soften. It also makes a nice presentation that way.