Monday, August 15, 2011

Back to School Basics

It's that time of year again, back to school.  Are you ready? With all the rush, having a plan for dinner can be tough to come by. I love to cook, but even I am tempted by frozen dinners. But somehow, I feel awful giving these to my kids. The answer for me is frozen ingredients I usually have in my freezer, like tilapia fillets and peas. The result is a spin on the classic English dish, fish and mushy peas. Check out my recipe for Panko breaded tilapia fillets with homemade tartar sauce and minted peas. This Panko breading can be used for chicken cutlets and pork chops (boneless), too. It's easy and crispy goodness. My family loves it!

Panko Breaded Tilapia Fillets with Homemade Tartar Sauce and Minted Peas

Serves 4


For the fish:
4 thawed tilapia fillets, cut in half lengthwise
1/2 cup all-purpose flour or more
Kosher salt and freshly ground black pepper
2 eggs, beaten 
1 cup or more Panko bread crumbs
grape seed oil for frying
Lemon wedges for serving

For the tartar sauce:
1 cup mayonnaise
3 tablespoons capers, chopped
10 tablespoons sweet gherkins, chopped
2 tablespoons flat leaf Italian parsley
1/2 lemon, juiced
dash of hot sauce
1 tablespoon olive oil
Kosher salt and freshly ground black pepper, to taste

For the peas:
2 1/2 cups frozen peas
2 tablespoons unsalted butter
2 tablespoons chopped fresh mint leaves
Kosher salt and freshly ground black pepper


Mix all the ingredients for the tartar sauce in a bowl, cover and chill.

Prepare the Panko breading by setting up a breading station. Place flour on a plate, beaten eggs in a shallow bowl, and Panko on another plate. Dry the fish with paper towels and season each side with salt and pepper. Now dredge each piece of fish first in the flour, then the egg, and then the Panko, shaking off any excess after each step. Place the breaded fish on a cookie sheet and refrigerate for at least 10 to 20 minutes. This ensures that the breading will not fall off when cooking.

Meanwhile, cook peas according to package instructions and then toss with the butter and mint. Season to taste with salt and pepper. Cover to keep warm.

In a large skillet, heat about 1/4 inch or so of the oil to about 350 degrees over medium to medium/high heat until the oil looks shimmery. I actually don't check the temperature. Instead, I drop a small piece of bread (usually taken from the end of a loaf) to see if it starts to bubble around the bread. Cook the fish for about 3 minutes a side until golden brown. Transfer to a paper-towel-lined plate, tray, or cookie sheet and season with salt and pepper. Continue with the remaining fish.

To serve:

Place two pieces of the fish on each plate. Place a dollop of the tartar sauce on each plate. Place a large spoonful of the peas on each plate. Garnish each with a lemon wedge and serve. 

No comments:

Post a Comment