Makes 4 servings
Hands-on prep time: 20 minutes
Total preparation time: 58 minutes
1 1/2 pounds tilapia* (see Cook’s Notes below)
2 cups whole milk
3/4 cup all-purpose flour
3 tablespoons Creole Spice mix, recipe follows
1 teaspoon kosher salt
4 tp 6 tablespoons vegetable oil
Lemon wedges, for garnish
Tartar Sauce, recipe follows
Cut down the seam of the fish to separate the thin and the thicker halves of the fillet. If you have time, freeze the thicker halves for 30 minutes. Cut the thicker halves in half horizontally to form 2 thin pieces.
Place the fish in a large shallow bowl and pour the milk over it. Cover and chill for 30 minutes.
Preheat the oven to 200 degrees F. Mix the flour, spice mix, and salt in a pie plate lined with a piece of parchment paper. Working in batches, remove the fillets from the milk and drain off the excess. Transfer to the flour mixture and, pulling up the sides of the parchment, turn to coat on both sides. Flour only as many fillets as will fit in a large skillet at one time.
Heat 2 tablespoons of the oil in a large skillet over high heat until just smoking. Add the fillets and cook until golden brown, about 2 minutes per side. Transfer to a heatproof plate and keep in the oven while you cook the remaining fillets. Repeat the procedure with the remaining fillets, flour mix, and oil. Serve with lemon wedges.
Creole Spice Mix:
1 tablespoon plus 1 teaspoon hot paprika
1 tablespoon kosher salt
1 tablespoon garlic powder
1 1/2 teaspoons freshly ground black pepper
1 1/2 teaspoons onion powder
1 1/2 teaspoons cayenne pepper
1 1/2 teaspoons dried oregano
1 1/2 teaspoons dried thyme
Mix all ingredients together in a small bowl. Store in an airtight container.
Yield: about 1/2 cup
Sauteed Shredded Zucchini with Lemon and Thyme
Makes 6 servings
1 onion, sliced thin
2 pounds zucchini
1 1/2 teaspoons kosher salt
2 tablespoons olive oil
1 teaspoon fresh lemon juice
1/2 teaspoon freshly grated lemon zest
1 teaspoon chopped fresh thyme
Additional kosher salt and freshly ground black pepper to taste
Trim off and discard the ends of the zucchini. Coarsley grate the zucchini using the grating disk of a food processor or the large holes of a box grater. Toss the zucchini in the salt in a large colander. Drain for 15 minutes. Wrap small handfuls of the zucchini in a clean kitchen towel and gently but firmly squeeze out as much moisture as possible.
Heat the oil in a large skillet over high heat until hot. Add the zucchini and cook, stirring for 2 minutes. Add the lemon juice, lemon zest and thyme. Cook for 1 minute longer. Season with additional salt and pepper. Serve hot.
Makes 4 to 6 servings
Hands-on time: 5 minutes
Total preparation time: 30 minutes
2 pounds small (1 1/2 inch) red potatoes, scrubbed
2/3 to 1 cup milk, heated
3 – 4 tablespoons unsalted butter or to taste
Freshly milled black pepper
Combine the potatoes and salted water to cover by 1 inch in a large saucepan. Bring the water to a boil over high heat; reduce the heat to low and simmer the potatoes for 15 to 20 minutes or until tender.
Drain and return the potatoes to the saucepan. Add 1/3 cup milk and the butter; smash with a potato masher until mashed enough to hold together. Add more milk until the desired consistency is reached. Season with salt and pepper to taste.
*Make sure to purchase tilapia raised in the United States. Do not buy tilapia from China or Taiwan, there are serious ecological issues in the way they are raised.
There are several good brands of Creole Spice Mix. One of my favorites is Zatarains, but it has a fair amount of salt in it so don’t add too much to a recipe or the dish will taste salty. You can buy it online from the Zatarains website or from Amazon.