As Christians began observing Lent on Ash Wednesday, many are going meatless on Fridays, opting for fish instead. And Friday fish fries are popping up like bobbers from now until Easter on April 24.
Many area churches and other organizations get the fryers going, while fish fries and fish specials suddenly appear on restaurant menus.
When making a small amount of fried fish at home, I go the simple pan-fried route. It’s easier, and there is no messing around with hot oil and those lingering odors.
For the coating, I dip the fillets in a bit of egg white and then simply dredge them in seasoned flour. If I want to use a wet batter for coating the fish, I prefer one that is on the thin side, like tempura, which is thinner than pancake batter. I’m not a fan of fish cooked with way too much batter or with a puffed-up coating, which typically means that the batter has club soda or beer in it.
Serves: 2 Preparation time: 20 minutes Total time: 40 minutes
You can use cod or any semi-firm white fish.
3/4 pound perch fillets
Salt and black pepper to taste
1 large egg white
1 cup all-purpose flour
1/2 cup crushed panko bread crumbs
1 teaspoon Old Bay seasoning or more to taste
Pinch of cayenne pepper
1/2 teaspoon garlic-onion salt
1/4 cup canola oil
Tartar sauce (see recipe in directions)
Rinse the fish fillets and pat dry. If they are large, cut them in half or to desired size.
Season on both sides with salt and pepper. Place the egg white in a bowl and beat until foamy.
In a pie plate, combine the flour, panko, Old Bay seasoning and Morton’s seasoning blend.
In a large skillet, heat the canola oil. Working in batches, dip the fillets in the egg white, allowing the excess to drip off, then dredge in the flour mixture, coating the fish on both sides. Place the fish in the skillet and fry on one side until golden brown, about 4 minutes . Flip and fry on the other side another 3 minutes, depending on thickness .
Place on paper towel-lined platter, cover and keep warm. Repeat with remaining fillets.
Serve fillets with a dollop of tartar and slaw.
Cook’s note: To make tartar sauce, whisk together 2 tablespoons white vinegar, 1-1/4 cups reduced-fat mayonnaise, 1/4 cup reduced-fat sour cream and 1 tablespoon lemon juice. Fold in 1/2 cup finely chopped green onions, 1/2 cup chopped parsley, 2 tablespoons relish, 3 tablespoons capers that have been drained, rinsed well and chopped, and salt and pepper to taste. Cover and refrigerate at least 1 hour so flavors meld.
Source: From and tested by Susan M. Selasky for the Free Press Test Kitchen.
Nutrition information: 417 calories (39 percent from fat), 18 grams fat (2 grams sat. fat), 25 grams carbohydrates, 38 grams protein, 435 mg sodium, 71 mg cholesterol, 1 gram fiber.