Simple name, but amazingly wonderful dish!! This delicious piece of fish was crispy on the outside and moist on the inside. And I'll let you in on a secret, I baked it! Yep, it's not fried, but baked! YAY!!! Chalk one up for healthier cooking!
There are two ways of cooking this fish actually, frying or baking, I picked baking. Though I know that it would be oh so good fried, as I get older I try hard to leave the fried foods for special treats. The key to the crispiness of this fish is not only cooking it on wire rack set on top of a baking sheet, but heating up the baking sheet in the oven while it preheats. Stephen came up with the idea in an email to me and I immediately knew I had to at least give it a shot. The baking sheet gets nice and hot and helps generate that heat to crisp up the bottom of the fish. It worked like a charm! Thanks Stephen!
I'll give you both methods of cooking, but I recommend baking....it comes out so crispy, you'll not miss the deep frying method at all!
The Obsessive Chef's Tilapia Fillets
Slightly adapted from Stephen, The Obsessive Chef
4 Tilapia fillets
Salt, pepper, and paprika
2 Tablespoons Bisquick
1 Tablespoon milk (or water)
3/4 cup Panko bread crumbs (or you can use unflavored regular bread crumbs)
Rinse the fillets under cold water and dry them well with paper towels. Sprinkle the fish with salt, pepper and paprika. Use your hands to press the spices into the fish so that they stick.
Put the Bisquick in a fine-mesh strainer and shake it over the fish, coating it with a fine layer on both sides.
Lightly beat the egg with 1 tbsp water or milk. Pour panko into another shallow dish.
Dip the fillets, one by one, into the egg, coating them completely. Let the excess drip off and coat the fillets with breadcrumbs, pressing them onto the surface. (**)
Preheat the oven to 425 degrees. Place baking sheet you will be using in oven as it preheats. (this will help keep the bottom of the fish crispy)
Spray a wire rack with cooking spray and place fillets on it. Bake 12-14 minutes. Turn the broiler on and broil for another 3 minutes or until the coating is firm and lightly browned. Remove from oven, sprinkle with salt, and serve!
(**) Method 2-Frying: After the fish is coated in panko Place the filets on a wire rack over a plate and refrigerate for 30-60 minutes. Remove them from the fridge about 30 minutes before cooking. This is crucial to getting the coating firmly setup enough that it will not separate from the fish while frying. If you are using method 2 below, this step is not necessary.
Coat a sauté pan, large enough to accommodate both filets in one layer, with 1/8” vegetable oil. Heat the oil over medium high heat until a spatter of water pops instantly when flicked in. Carefully lay the fish into the pan. Fry undisturbed for 4 minutes. Use 2 large spatulas, one on top and one underneath, and great care to turn the filets over. Fry on the second side for 3 minutes. Remove the filets to the wire rack which you’ve cover with a layer of paper towels. Sprinkle a bit of fine salt on them and let them rest for just a minute. Serve on hot plates and dig in immediately while the fish is still hot and very crispy.