Tuesday, July 12, 2011

Tilapia fingers

Recently, I realized that I've been spending a bit more than I intended to put together these food blog entries. So I decided to go to Eastern Market, a farmers market/flea market in Southeast Washington DC, and shop  for a cost effective dinner option. After looking around I decided to go with some tilapia fillets, which were $7.50 per pound. I'd previously found a recipe for tilapia fingers on onceuponachef.com, which I'd been wanting try, so this all worked out well. This was a really simple recipe and aside from the tilapia I had all of the ingredients ready at home.

I was very happy with how this recipe turned out. The fish turned out very crispy and flavorful without tasting too heavy and fried. I cooked it in three batches and realized after the first batch that it's important to make sure to add enough oil so the breading gets nice and crispy. This wound up being three meals worth of food for a very reasonable price.

The original recipe suggests making a lemon garlic mayo on the side. I decided to mix it up a bit and make a sriracha mayo dipping sauce. This was a simple blend of mayo and sriracha hot sauce, but it was absolutely delicious. I highly recommend it.

For the tilapia:
2 pounds tilapia fillets (I cut the recipe in half since I was only cooking for one.)
1 cup all-purpose flour
3 eggs, beaten
2 cups panko (Japanese bread crumbs)
Freshly ground black pepper
Olive oil
1 lemon, cut into wedges

For the sriracha mayo:
Three tablepoons mayonnaise
One tablespoon sriracha

1. Cut the tilapia into "fingers" by first cutting the fillets in half. Leave the thin sides long, then cut the thicker sides in half on a diagonal so they appear longer.
2. Set up three large, shallow bowls in an assembly line. Put flour in the first bowl; beaten eggs in the second; and panko in the third.
3. Line a baking sheet with aluminum foil. Dredge fish fingers in flour mixture, shaking excess into bowl so just a light coating remains; dip in eggs and turn to coat evenly; then dredge in panko, turning several times to coat evenly.  (This can be a messy job...it's best to use one hand for the flour and eggs and the other for the panko.) Set breaded tilapia fingers on baking sheet and season with salt and pepper. Cover and refrigerate until ready to cook (this can be done several hours ahead of time).
4. Line a plate with 3 paper towels and set by the stove. Heat olive oil in large, non-stick saute pan over medium heat. When pan is hot, place first batch of tilapia fingers in pan (do not crowd) and cook until first side is golden brown, about 2-3 minutes. Flip and continue cooking until done, about 2 minutes more. Transfer fish fingers to plate with paper towels and let sit for a minute to drain any excess oil. Remove any brown bits out of pan, add more oil if necessary and continue to cook in batches until done. Season cooked tilapia fingers with more salt if desired. Serve with lemon wedges and Sriracha mayonnaise.

The Results


  1. Wow that looks so yummy. I'm from the south-Alabama Gulf Coast and we have used as a coating flour/cornmeal mix. I've noticed a lot more fish frying being done with the panko - especially on Food Network. I think I'm gonna try the panko crumbs.