Love the Crumbs

I have some friends and loved ones that avoid gluten, either because of health issues or preferences. I also happen to live in Wisconsin: land of the Friday night fish fry. For those avoiding gluten, that can mean feeling a bit isolated and left out. But that doesn't have to be the case:

That, my friends, is a beautiful tilapia fillet that's been coated with crushed dill pickle-flavored potato chip crumbs and pan/oven-fried until crispy and golden on the outside and tender and flakey on the inside. There's a lot to love about this recipe. Being gluten free means being able to share it more widely, of course. However, I don't have any issues with gluten and I actually prefer to make my fish this way. It's amazingly delicious and beyond easy to prepare. I give still-individually-frozen fish fillets a generous brushing with mayonnaise and then dredge them in the chip crumbs. Then I give them a brief frying from below in a skillet. Then the skillet goes in the oven to finish the frying from above and the sides. Then dinner's ready.

Because you don't need to thaw the fish, brushing it with mayo is very simple. Mayo makes a beautiful first layer to help the potato chip crumbs adhere to the fish. The combination of mayo and chip crumbs bring more than enough flavor to the party, so extra seasonings aren't necessary. Those items make it magic. You also don't have to attempt to flip the fish. That can sometimes get kind of messy, but a brief pan fry followed by a final oven fry give you fish that's perfectly cooked and beautifully coated.

I love serving my fish with tartar sauce, sliced lemon, steamed or roasted asparagus, and baby potatoes. But what you serve with your fish is really up to you. French fries or potato salad alongside cole slaw are very common options. I'm also a fan of having tall glasses of lemonade and hard cider around, but again, pick what appeals to you. But if you're a fan of fish fries, you owe it to yourself to give this recipe a whirl. Enjoy!

Tater Chip Crusted Fish

  • 2 T. cooking fat (bacon fat, olive oil, butter, etc.)
  • 16 oz. frozen tilapia fillets
  • 2 T. mayonnaise
  • 1 c. crushed potato chips (I choose dill pickle flavored)

Preheat the oven to 400° F. Heat the cooking fat of your choice in a nonstick, ovenproof skillet over medium-high heat.

Brush the fish fillets lightly with the mayonnaise. There is no need to thaw the fish. After the fish has been brushed with the mayo, dredge them liberally in the potato chip crumbs. Carefully arrange them in the heated skillet and allow them to fry for about 5 minutes.

Remove the skillet from the stovetop and bake the fish in the preheated oven for 15-20 minutes or until the chips are golden brown and the fish flakes easily with a fork. Serve with lemon and tartar sauce.

  • Yields: 3-4 servings
  • Preparation Time: 30 minutes