So after a 13 hour day at work on Monday, I didn’t get home until 9pm. So having basically worked 8 hours since my lunch break, I was in need of a very quick dinner. All the while utilizing the limited provisions in the refrigerator. Here were my options:
-Fresh brats in the fridge
-Polish style hot dogs in the fridge
-Three piece of defrosted tilapia in the fridge
-1lb of defrosted hamburger meat in the fridge
And the final selection……(drum roll please).……tilapia for a fish fry. Now I’m going to put this on the table right now, I’m kind of 50/50 when it comes to tilapia out of all the different white fish. But hey, they always have it for a great price at Costco, and as Sammy Hagar sung “suckers walk, money talks.” And money is talking a little bit louder then usual now a days.
If there is one thing I learned in art class in high school….it is that you always produce your best work with the weight of a deadline. It forces you to get creative in a hurry. After changing out of my work clothes, I starting to heat up the skillet of oil that I had sitting on the range from making buffalo wings on Sunday night. This basically gave me ~10mins of total prep time, before the oil would be at 350F. So a quick trip through foodnetwork.com, allrecipes.com and my own vast recipe memory bank. I was able to cobble together a recipe and prep the fish right when the oil hit 300F. So I was cutting it close to say the least.
So here is the recipe, if you could even call it a recipe.
-Three filets of tilapia, cut into six “tenders”
-~1/2cup AP flour
1) Rinse off the fish, leaving it wet in the sink.
2) Beat the two eggs in a bowl
3) Take the AP flour, and put into a 1-gallon kitchen bag.
4) Take a couple of fish tenders and place in the flour bag. Pinch the top of the bag closed with you hand, but before shaking, use your mouth to slightly inflate the bag. Now give it a good couple of shakes.
5) Remove the fish from the flour, patting the flour down into the fish. Let the fish sit for about 30-60 seconds before dunking in the eggs, and giving it another shaking in the flour bag.
6) After the final shaking in flour, just drop the fish into the hot oil, making sure not to shake off any excess flour from the fish. Since the extra flour is what gives the fish its crazy looking coating.
7) It will only take about 2 or 3 minutes to cook the fish, so don’t leave for a smoke break. After the fish have floated to the surface and are nicely browned. Serve right away.
I’ve done fish fry’s a handful of times, and usually I’ve been personally disappointed with the results. But to the people that were actually eating the fish, they gave me nothing but rave reviews to my own bewilderment. But this time I can honestly say that I was satisfied with how the fish came out on a couple of different fronts.
1) The fish was very flaky, which usually isn’t the case with tilapia in my experience. My best guess of the cause of the flakiness would be from the double freezing/thawing cycle (frozen at the packer and defrosted at the store, and me buying it at the store and putting it back in the freezer and defrosting only what I need.)
2) The flour-egg-flour coating. I’ve tried coating fish in tempura, cornmeal, spiced flour, bread crumbs…. you name it….all with less then satisfactory results. But the flour-egg-flour coating worked out very well, almost giving the fish a look and texture of KFC chicken (which looks awesome for presentation by the way). After the first shaking of flour and patted down the fish with my hand, let the fish sit for about 30 sec before the egg coat. After the second shaking, don’t shake off the excess flour before dropping the fish in the pan. On the first two piece of fish, I shook off the excess flour before dropping it into the pan, and it didn’t develop the crazy textured crust, like when you leave the extra flour on. Go figure.
But overall, I’m totally making this again.