My father always used a beer batter to fry fish. I was not raised on a lot of seafood, really just canned tuna, salmon patties & fresh caught fresh water fish. I have no idea what kind of fish- as a kid, I just knew we were having “fish”. When my father was stationed in Panama, he would take us fishing on Gatun Lake and we would catch a ton of fish. I took my family back to this same lake almost 3 decades later- and we also caught a ton of fish (that story is for another post- memory lane is a beautiful place, but I can get lost there for hours). On to the fish fry recipe-
It wasn’t until I met my father-in-law that I was introduced to light & crispy fried tilapia. Tilapia is my favorite for this because it never tastes “fishy”- yes that is a technical term.
We have blazing hot sultry summers here in South Carolina that for some odd reason make you crave fried fish. I personally think it’s related to heat stroke, but it really hit both me & my husband this week. I don’t fry fish (or eggrolls- the only 2 things I do fry) in house, so luckily the sun had sunk a little in the sky before I fired up the hot oil on my concrete sun drenched patio.
Typically, this meal is served with sides like cole slaw and baked beans, but we’ve learned over time that everyone just wants their fill of this spicy crunchy flaky white fish and we don’t know what to do with all the leftover beans and slaw so we save ourselves the trouble and skip them. Enjoy!
Recipe: Fried Tilapia- Melanie Knight
- Louisiana New Orleans Fish Fry Breading Mix
- 1/2 cup milk
- 3 Tilapia filets per person (I always ask how many each person would like up front, so everyone knows how many they’ll get up front)
- Olive oil for frying
- Frank’s Hot Sauce on the side
Heat the oil in an electric frying pan. I use olive oil, which has a low burning point. I set my pan on 350 degrees. While the oil is heating up, set up your assembly line by pouring the milk into a wide bowl and your dry breading mix into a separate pie plate. Now, dip a fish filet completely into the milk, let the excess drip off, then dredge in the dry breading mix on both sides until well covered.
Once the oil is ready, lay your fish filet into the oil, careful not to get hot oil splashed onto you. I don’t time the frying, I fry until each side is a golden brown+ since we like our fish crispy. Once done to your liking, remove to a plate lined with paper towels.
Serve with hot sauce and enjoy! No need for plates or utensils- we eat family style off the main plate. Something about this intimate dining experience really brings us together. We ate this last week, and now I’d love to have it again for dinner tonight, but alas, I ration my fried foods to 1x a month so I can truly savor them.