Pescado Frito

by Linda Capeloto Sendowski on July 27, 2010

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A crisp golden outside leads to moist, flaky, white fish on the inside. Fried fish is one of my favorite dishes for a weeknight dinner or a traditional Turkish Sephardic Shabbat or holiday lunch. For dinner, all you need to add is a crisp Greek salad, mashed potatoes or ‘macaron con queso’ (macaroni and cheese) to complete the meal.

In our family, it is traditional to serve a dairy meal for Shabbat and Holiday lunches including borekas, other desayuno (Boyos, Fritada, Quajado …) along with some kind of fish. Petrale Sole is delicate and sold in thin whole filets. It is great if you can get it fresh. Other times of the year, I use halibut when it is in season. When I use halibut, I buy a two pound chunk and carefully slice it into ½ inch medallions with a very sharp knife.

My mother, Nona, made fried fish breaded in matzo meal or homemade challah bread crumbs. Now days with the availability of kosher panko crumbs, I find that they create a much crisper, beautiful golden crust, with a better flavor.

2 pound of fish filets, preferably halibut cut in medallions or Petrale sole
2 cups flour
1 teaspoon salt
2-3 eggs
3 cups panko crumbs
1 teaspoon salt
Safflower oil for frying

If using halibut medallions they should be about ½ inch thick and about 1.5-2 inch by 4-6 inch rectangles. Petrale sole is easiest to work with if you cut the filet lengthwise where it has a seam and then, the pieces in half across to make a size easy to manage in the fry pan.

Mix the salt into the flour. Mix the other teaspoon of salt into the panko crumbs. Lay out the flour on a plate. Beat the eggs in a shallow flat dish. Pour the panko crumbs onto a plate. Line up the three plates in order, flour, eggs, and panko. Spread a large piece of aluminum foil or wax paper to cover your counter top.

Place each piece of fish first in the flour then egg then crumbs and then set it carefully on the prepared foil or paper. Coat all of the fish pieces before you begin to fry. Preheat a large frying pan. Pour in safflower oil to about ¼ inch deep. Keep the heat on medium high. Slide the fish pieces into the oil one at a time. Use a tong to turn the pieces when they are golden on the first side. When the fish is golden on the second side remove the fish with the tong and place on paper towel to drain. Place the fish single file, never double up or place one piece on top of another.

Fish cooks through in only a few minutes, so use the golden color of the panko crumbs as your indication when to remove it from the oil. Serve hot, cold, or room temperature with lemon wedges.

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