Tilapia is my daughter's favorite fish. Every time she comes home for a college break, I cook tilapia for her. The recipe below has come to me from my friend's kitchen. Nut-crusted fried fish is nothing new in general but for me it's something I just "took on board". Usually, I cook it in a large quantity, as it keeps in a fridge pretty good and have a tendency to disappear from there pretty quick too. Must be, because it's tasty even cold and stiff from a fridge.
- Obviously, you can use any crushed/sliced nuts. So far I have tried it just with almonds as I like the way almond slices are browned up when fried. It's yet to be tried by me with another nuts like pignolia (pine) nuts, pistachio, walnuts or pecans.
- As one of my cooking principles is "less ingredients - better", I'm not adding any herbs or spices to the crust mix, I think that natural subtle fish + almond flavor is sufficient for the overall dish flavor. But feel free to add your favorite herbs or spices to the almond mix. For example, some chilli powder or chili flakes to spice things up ;)
Flavors are subtle and smooth. It's a texture that takes a front row here - extreme crunch from a almond crust, supported by meaty texture of tilapia fillet is an awesome "crunch-munch" experience.
How to Serve
Of course it's best right from the skillet, with any side dish you could imagine. Perhaps my favorite side to it would be wilted garlic spinach or some kind of sautéed vegetable just to put juiciness in a contrast to a crusty tilapia fillet.
For the next day work lunch, try to make a sandwich with a cold Almond Crusted Tilapia with some lettuce, mustard and mayo - yumm!
Almond Crusted Tilapia
4 tilapia fillets, cut in medium-size pieces 2 cups raw almonds, sliced (store bought) 1 cup of bread crumbs (or panko crumbs) 2 eggs, slightly bitten 1.5 cups of all purpose flour salt to taste light olive oil for frying
- Place your skillet with a good amount of olive oil on a medium high heat.
- When oil is just about to get smoke, turn heat on a lowest position and start frying tilapia.
- To fry tilapia, dip fillet, first, in a flour, shake it off and dip it in eggs. Let excess of eggs to drip down and place fillet in an almond/bread crumbs mix. Coat nicely on both sides pressing somewhat almond into tilapia pieces.
- Fry tilapia on a low heat allowing pieces barely sizzle on a skillet. Remember, you will burn your almond crust trying to fry even on a medium heat.
I place plates with a three crust components at the right side of my skillet. It's convenient then to work up in this order: flour > eggs > almond/breadcrumbs > skillet. Note that eggs here are not bitten yet and almond/breabcrumbs are not mixed up yet as well.
Let's get fingers dirty! I work with a right hand dipping in flour and eggs and with a left hand when coating in almond/breadcrumbs mix.
Remember, heat your oil up first and then, before placing tilapia on a skillet, turn heat to very low and wait for a minute or two. Otherwise you'll burn your precious crust!
Isn't it beautiful? On a side, plain jasmine rice sprinkled with my favorite rice seasoning - green furikake.