Retro Fish

23 Feb

Half an hour to dinner and no idea what to feed the kids.

Been there? I think we all have (and if you haven’t, just keep it to yourself; I love you but I don’t want to hear about it. Thanks.). It happened to me last night. DH and I had leftover chili, and I had no clue what to give my non-chili-eating children.

They’ve been asking me for fish tacos for a few days. That would have been simple enough except that I had no limes in the house. Lemons either. Or guacamole or salsa. And we’re trying to eat through what’s in the fridge and freezer, so going out to get that stuff wasn’t high on my priority list, especially since I waited until a half-hour before dinner to think of it.

But we did have plenty of rockfish in the freezer, and I remembered my mom’s chicken cutlets that my brother and I loved as kids, and it seemed simple enough to translate chicken to fish, and so I went for it. Old school in the kitchen, yo.

The results? Huge hit. Huge. I swiped a bit myself and it was delicous. Just as I remembered–crunchy outside, moist inside, easy to eat with fingers or a fork, and simply yummy.

The boy ate his with his fingers. The girl still wanted tacos, so I threw some into some taco shells and sprinkled cheese over top.

I made these in my cast iron skillet, which I love for browning. It’s heavy and while it takes awhile to come up to heat, it stays hot for a long time and doesn’t fluctuate as food goes into it. If you don’t have cast iron, be sure your skillet is good and hot before you pop these babies in there–you want brown and crispy, and a cool pan will give you tan and mushy. Which is not at all what we’re going for.

Any white fish will work in this recipe. My guess is that salmon would be equally good, and shrimp would work if you lower the heat a bit and keep a careful eye on them. Of course, you can always follow my mom’s lead and do this with chicken strips too. Simple and easy and something everyone will eat–a home run in my book. You’ll need:

Enough fish or chicken for your family (I used about a half-pound of rockfish for the kids and we had some left over), cut into strips

About a cup of dried bread crumbs (I used plain, but Italian would be good too)

About a quarter cup of shredded or grated Parmesan cheese

Two eggs

Olive oil

Heat a medium-sized skillet or cast iron pan over medium-high heat until it’s screaming hot. Don’t go nuts and crank the stove to high or you’ll have burned outside and raw inside, which is gross. Medium high.

Break your eggs into a bowl and whisk them up.

Pour the bread crumbs and cheese into another bowl and stir them together.

Once your pan is hot, coat its bottom with olive oil and turn the heat down to medium.

Coat each fish or chicken strip first with egg, and then with the breadcrumb mixture. Shake gently to get rid of excess crumbs. Plop it down in the oil and leave it alone for about three or four minutes, until the bottom is golden brown. Flip and cook the other side. My strips were on the thick side, so I then cooked each side on its own too.

Remove to a plate that has two or three layers of paper towel on it. Let drain for a moment, and serve.

3 Responses to “Retro Fish”

  1. mary m February 23, 2011 at 3:49 pm #

    So it’s almost like you’re sauting them? You don’t want a whole lot of oil, right?

    Sorry for the silly questions, I just have a hard time doing breaded things in a frying pan but not frying…they turn out soggy or oil laden. I know that has to do with temp, but I’m guessing it has to do with amount of oil as well..


  2. Kim February 23, 2011 at 5:35 pm #

    Hi Mary

    You’re not deep frying, but you do want a healthy coating of oil in the pan. Soggy = not hot enough. Get your pan *screaming* hot before you put in the oil and food. 🙂


  3. mary m February 27, 2011 at 3:48 am #

    Okay I’ll be more patient and heat the oil hotter 😉

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