Fried Fish 101
Fresh fish with a juicy flavorful interior and a crispy exterior is the way we all love our fish and that’s what this fish is…. juicy and tender on the inside, flaky and crispy on the outside….. But the best part of it all is, it’s extremely easy to make. Growing up in the city of brotherly love fish was sort of a tradition in my family. My aunts would fry fish on Friday nights religiously. There is not a friday evening that went by where our house didn’t smell like old fish oil. They loved eating it with bread as a sandwich or alongside baked macaroni and cheese. My father also made fried fish frequently… his was absolutely delicious… crispy and juicy… just like this recipe here. And he always fried some good ole whitings on Saturday mornings for breakfast with some scrambled eggs and grits on the side. Those were some good eating times boy. I never forgot how excited my family was when he would prepare fish for breakfast…. it’s just something addicting about juicy crispy and yes…. greasy fried food. I remember dipping my fried fish in tartar sauce as a kid and when I got older I would top my fish with warm buttery grits my my my…. just talking about how good this fried fish is makes me want to go and make some more. But this recipe is definitely a winner and it’s “cooking novice” friendly so don’t worry it’s not some overly complicated recipe that you have to try 10 times to master… follow the instructions below precisely and you should have you some crispy juicy fried fish within minutes. Im going to be showing you in this recipe how to make crispy fried fish using panko breadcrumbs and traidition fried fish using just yellow cornmeal. Some people like tradition fish over crispy fish… and even though cornmeal fried fish can be crispy… it’s nowhere near as crispy as panko fried fish. There are just a few steps more that you have to do when making fried fish using panko breadcrumbs to get that extra crisp some of us love. You will definitely be making this fried fish recipe again, trust me it’s that impressive. Good luck!
1. First thing you’re going to need to do is season your fish. I usually combine all my seasonings together first but feel free to add them to the fish individually if you like. I add my seasonings to my breading sometimes too but this time I didn’t. Make sure you sprinkle the seasoning onto both sides of the fish and rub it in well. For those of you wondering paprika doesn’t add flavor. I use a small amount of paprika specifically for color, THAT’S IT! You don’t have to use the seasonings that I listed in the ingredients either… you can use whatever seasonings you think you’d like or your favorite seasonings… you can season your fish however YOU LIKE! Just make sure that you don’t overseason your fish. Fish is not a thick piece of meat and therefore doesn’t require lots of seasonings so be mindful of that.
- If you’re making fish using cornmeal make sure your fish is slightly damp/wet before seasoning it. I’ll explain the importance of your fish being a little damp in the next step.
- If you’re making fish using panko breadcrumbs you don’t need the fish to be damp.
2. Ok so now it’s time to coat the fish. You’re going to coat panko and cornmeal fish differently though. First im going to explain how to coat cornmeal fish then we’ll talk about how to coat panko fish.
- Cornmeal Breading: So for cornmeal fish all you need to do is place your fish in a bag or big bowl of cornmeal and toss it until it’s fully and well coated then sit it aside for 15 to 20 minutes while the oil is preheating. Giving the fish time to sit allows the coating to stick to the fish better… it allows it to settle into the fish. I like to sit all my meats for 15 minutes after coating them with flour or breading. Egg wash is totally unneccesary when using a fine breading like cornmeal. Fine breading sticks to meat very well on it’s own because it’s so tiny and fine. Breadcrumbs that come in a larger crumb size like panko breadcrumbs requires a little more assistance to help it stick and doesn’t stick well on it’s own.
- Panko Breading: Ok so alot of people complain about their panko breadcrumbs falling off and not sticking to their meats. Well, the way you get it to stick properly is to coat your fish with flour first, then shake off the excess flour. Dip the flour coated fish into a bowl of battered eggs, then toss the fish in a bag or bowl of panko breadcrumbs. MAKE SURE YOU PRESS THE BREADCRUMBS FIRMLY AGAINST THE FISH as you’re coating it. Pressing the panko breadcrumbs into the fish helps it stick better as well. Also, make sure that before you toss the fish in the breadcrumbs that the fish is FULLY and THOROUGHLY coasted in egg. After doing all of this sit your panko coated fish aside to sit for 15 to 20 minutes while your oil is preheating just like you would sit aside the cornmeal fish.
3. Last but not least preheat your oil. I used a fryer so I had to use tons of oil but you maybe using a pot and lots of oil definitely isn’t needed for you. So that’s the reason an amount of oil isn’t listed under ingredients because the amount of oil you use totally depends on how wide and tall your pot is. The key is to use enough oil to totally submerge the fish in. We’re deep frying these fish so you have to make sure you’re using enough oil to fully cover the fish.
4. This step is probably the most impervative step because it involves the temperature and cooking time which will determine how juicy and crispy your fish come out. You have to fry the fish on 375 degrees. If you’re cooking your fish in a pot over a stove add your oil, turn your fire onto medium high heat, and clip a termometer onto the pot. The termometer will tell you the temperature of the oil. Make sure the termometer stick is submerged in the oil to get a proper read.
5. Once your oil has reached 375 degrees add your fish to the hot oil. The reason fish comes out chewy and dry sometimes is due to frying it too long. All you need to do is fry your fish high and quick. High and quick is what gives you crispy juicy fried fish. The high temperature is what makes the breading crispy and the short cooking time it what keeps the fish juicy and prevents it from drying out. So I only fry my fish for 2-1/2 to 3 minutes on 375 degrees. If you’re frying thin pieces of fish fry them for a lil over 2 minutes for thicker pieces let them go for 3 to 3-1/2 minutes.
6. Once your fish is done sit them on a paper toweled plate to drain the excess oil. You guys are going to love this recipe… And don’t forget to check out the video tutorial below. Enjoy!
Check Out My Video Tutorial