Who doesn’t loves fried fish? I am a dietitian and seldom eat fried foods, but even I succumb to a piece of fried fish once in awhile. My last indulgence was just
last week. Admittedly it was a beautiful piece of California rock cod, moderate in size,
and served with lovely vegetables and a caper sauce at my favorite restaurant, the Café at Chez Panisse in Berkeley. www.chezpanisse.com
Fried fish from Chez Panisse Cafe: definitely not your standard “fish and chips”.
In general I avoid fried foods in restaurants because they are often cooked in
questionable oil in the deep fat fryer. Many restaurants use hydrogenated oils which
contain trans fats in them, others use oils with a high amount of saturated fat such as palm oil. Saturated oils last longer in the fryer before going rancid, which is why they tend to be preferred by restaurants. But saturated oils can raise cholesterol levels, and traditional Mediterranean diets are low in saturated fat, so it is healthier to avoid them when possible. Given the conscientiousness of all the foods served at Chez Panisse, I seriously doubt they are using unhealthy oils in the fish, so I let myself indulge.
One can fry fish at home using healthy oil such as olive oil, grapeseed oil or canola oil
but it makes such a mess and uses so much oil I don’t bother. Once in awhile
though, I like a piece of crispy fish and this is how I make it.
Start with some pieces of fresh sustainably harvested fish. For example, Pacific cod was
used here. This is the short list of ingredients:
24 ounces (1 ½ pounds) fresh cod, rockfish
2 cups cornflake crumbs (you can either buy these already made, or prepare them from
cornflakes. I used organic corn flakes. Put the cornflakes into a ziplock bag and roll over them with a rolling pin until they are crushed, or grind them in the food processor)
1 ½ cups nonfat or lowfat milk
¼ cup organic mayonnaise
California Extra-virgin olive oil
Preheat the oven to 425 degrees.
Rub 2 dark nonstick baking sheets (at least 9 by 13 inches in size ) generously with olive
oil or line them with parchment paper and then put rub oil on the paper.
Cut the cod into medium sized pieces. Here I cut it into pieces of about 5-6 by 2-3 inches. Put the pieces of cod in a bowl with the milk to soak for several minutes while you mix
up the coating ingredients.
Put the crushed cornflake crumbs in a container large enough to hold the individual
pieces of fish. Add pepper but do not add salt. Most cornflake crumbs are already amazingly high in sodium. Put the mayonnaise in another bowl. Remove the cod from the milk, draining it, and stir it in the bowl with the mayonnaise until all pieces are coated evenly with mayonnaise.
One by one remove the pieces of cod and coat them evenly on all sides with the cornflake
crumbs. Then lay them out on the baking sheet. They should not touch each other.
Bake the cod pieces for about 20 to 25 minutes or until they are well browned and crispy.
This can be served with a variety of flavorful sauces based on seasonal produce. For
example you could use the red pepper aioli recipe on this site. You can also use this fish as a filling for fish tacos. I served it with the Fuyu persimmon salsa and this is what it looked like.
Oven fried fish with fuyu persimmon salsa
© 2015. Dayna Green-Burgeson RD, CDE. All Rights Reserved.