Monday, June 30, 2008
I've Got "Sole" ... Fillets, that is!
Growing up in Northwest Indiana, my family ate fresh fish for dinner just about every Friday. Lake perch, not to be confused with ocean perch, was the meal I most looked forward to. My mom lightly floured and pan fried those lovely, little, need-to-eat-5-or-6-to-make-a-meal, fresh water beauties. As a kid, I loved to watch those thin little fillets deliciously curl up the moment they hit the pan. Their delicate flavor appealed to my entire family, and you can bet that I belonged to the "clean plate club" when lake perch was served.
Now that I live in the Pacific Northwest, fresh lake perch is not available to me. The closest I can get to mild flavored fish is sole fillets, and although they don't compare to the yumminess of lake perch, they are well received by my family. My oldest daughter, who is an amazing, beautiful, brilliant young lady of 12, isn't a huge fish fan. She does, however, love sole fillets, and will gobble them up just as fast as I can serve them. They are hard to come by out here, but the fish monger recently stocked them, and so I, in turn, stocked up myself.
A couple of days ago, I read a great recipe from the always terrific Pam at Sidewalk Shoes. She prepared a wonderful chicken dish where she used tortilla chips as the coating for her chicken. Oooh, her chicken looked so crispy and delicious in her photos. So, tonight as I was thinking about how I could prepare these sole fillets, I wondered if potato chip crumbs would work. Years ago I had made a salmon fillet using shredded potatoes as the crust, but potatoes would over power the delicate sole fillets. Potato chips, though, might just be the ticket. We rarely have potato chips in the house, but as luck would have it, we just bought a bag and I nabbed the new bag and crushed a couple handfuls of them. This would work great with the crumbs left in the bottom of the bag, but hey, I needed those chips now. Also, fyi, I made this with Gluten Free Flour, but it could easily be made with regular flour. My recipe also outlines preparing this on the stove top, but I think if you drizzle the prepared fillets with butter, you could easily make it in the oven instead.
About 1 cup of crushed fairly fine regular potato chips (I used Lays)
Two eggs, beaten
About 1 cup of Gluten Free All Purpose Flour (I used Bob's Red Mill)
Seasonings: Several shakes of: garlic salt, onion powder, season salt, and paprika
Canola oil for frying
1 Tsp butter
Foil Lined baking pan
Preheat oven to 200. Once the oven is heated, turn off the heat. The purpose of the oven is to keep the fish warm while you prepare the rest of dinner. The fish keeps great in the oven, and doesn't dry out.
Set up an assembly line with four stations. For station one, put the flour in a pie plate. Mix the seasonings into the flour. Station two would be the beaten eggs in another pie plate, and station three is the potato chips in yet another pie plate. (Note: I find using pie plates easier than using zip lock bags because the sole fillets are so thin, they tend to fold on themselves in a bag.) Station four is a large plate to place the floured/chipped fillets on before frying.
Take your fillets and follow the stations as outlined above, first flouring the fillet, then dipping in the egg wash, then dipping in potato chips. You have to press the chips on as they don't really want to stick.
The frying stage takes place very quickly. In a large heavy skillet, add about 1/2 in of canola oil and one teaspoon of butter on medium high heat. When the oil starts to sizzle, place the fillets in the skillet. Make sure your oil is sizzle hot; hot oil = crispy fish whereas warm oil = oily fish. Blech! Anyway, when you place the fillets in the pan, they should on contact have a great sizzle going. The sizzle should occur the entire time they cook, so don't over crowd the pan. I fry about 4 fillets at a time. Fry on one side for about 2 minutes or until golden and crispy, then turn over and cook for 1 - 2 minutes, or until crispy. With a slotted spatula, remove fillets from the skillet at place on the baking sheet. Repeat with the remaining fillets, keeping the already cooked ones in the oven.
Holy Neptune, did these turn out great! These chips provided a wonderful crunchy yet light coating for the sole. The fillets remained wonderfully moist, too. All three of my little fishes, I mean children, had seconds as did hubby man. Tonight, everyone in my household belonged to the "clean plate club"!