I have never had tilapia before, but I know my friend Robin, a fellow American English teacher in China, liked to fry it up on a fairly regular basis. Bought a package of frozen tilapia (sorry for those who think I’m the devil for buying frozen fish…it was on sale and I didn’t want to ruin any of the lovely fresh stuff if I screwed it up) at Safeway the other day to try my hand at cooking it. As usual when I don’t know exactly what I’m doing, I go to a cookbook or cooking website that I trust for a recipe. Since the cookbooks I own are vegetarian or vegan I decided to look on the Food Network website, which has treated me fairly decently in the past. I searched for main course dishes using tilapia that were labeled as “easy” so I wouldn’t have to dosomething terribly difficult my first time trying. I found a Rachael Ray recipe that sounded both easy (as its categorization implied) and decent. This is a stretch. As you all know if you read this semi-regularly, I once tried a Rachael Ray recipe that sounded like it was going to be good and ended up absolute bland shit. However, this turned out pretty good, all things considered. I think there are probably better tilapia recipes out there but this one was super easy and the ingredients were all things I keep around the house normally, so that’s a plus. It’s a good last minute recipe if you happen to have tilapia in your fridge. Next time I think I’ll be playing around with it a bit to see if I can make it more interesting. However it was pretty good, my boyfriend was happy, and I didn’t ruin the fish. All positive outcomes in my book. You can find the recipe on the Food Network website here.
Chili Lime Fish Fry
4 tilapia fillets
Kosher salt and freshly ground black pepper
1 cup all-purpose flour
2 eggs, beaten
1 cup bread crumbs
2 limes, zested and juiced
2 tablespoons chili powder, a couple of palmfuls
2 teaspoons garlic powder, 2/3 palmful
2 teaspoons onion powder, 2/3 palmful
2 tablespoons fresh chopped thyme leaves or 2 teaspoons dried
1/4 cup vegetable, canola or safflower oil
1. Season the fish with salt and pepper. Arrange 3 shallow dishes. Put the flour in 1 dish and add the eggs to the second dish. Combine the bread crumbs in the third dish and season with 1 tablespoon of lime zest, 2 tablespoons of chili powder, the garlic powder, onion powder and thyme. Coat the fish in the flour, then the egg and then the bread crumbs.
Heat the oil, about 1/4 cup, in large skillet over medium to medium-high heat. If your pan is not large enough to fry 4 fillets, in a single layer, heat the oven to 275 degrees F and put a cooling rack on a baking sheet. As you fry the fish, transfer them to the rack in the oven to keep warm. Fry the fish until deeply golden and crispy and transfer to a serving platter. Season with a little extra salt, top with lots of lime juice and serve.