Rich and silky-textured, this recipe is a match for a fresh lionfish filet, tis the season!

Parmesan Crusted Fish

(Serves 4)

  • 4 fillets of fish, skinned and boned
  • Kosher salt and pepper
  • ½ cup all-purpose flour
  • 2 eggs, beaten
  • 1 cup grated Parmesan cheese
  • 1 cup panko breadcrumbs
  • 1 tsp. granulated garlic Peanut or canola oil, for frying
  • Roll of refrigerated polenta, sliced into 1/2-inch thick rounds, optional

Coat the bottom of a shallow pan with about 1/4 inch of oil and bring to frying temperature, about 350F. Pat the fish fillets dry and season with salt and pepper. Mix panko breadcrumbs, Parmesan cheese and granulated garlic. Dredge fillets in flour, then in egg wash and finally in the breadcrumb/cheese mixture. Fry the fillets, 2 to 4 minutes per side, depending on thickness, and drain on paper towels. Plate the fish with sauce and garnish with the basil. If desired, serve with sliced rounds of warmed polenta.

Tomato Basil Cream Sauce

  • 2 tbsp. extra virgin olive oil
  • 4 cloves garlic, minced
  • 1 ½ cups cherry or grape tomatoes, halved
  • ¾ cup heavy whipping cream
  • 2 tbsp. double strength tomato paste
  • Small handful of basil leaves

Heat oil in a small saucepan over medium heat. Add garlic and cook until soft, not browned. Add tomatoes and cook two minutes. Reduce heat to low then add cream and tomato paste. Simmer for 15 minutes, stirring frequently. Season to taste with salt and pepper. Chop basil and reserve as garnish.

This recipe is simple and quick. And if you want to give it a “fish and grits” twist, buy a roll of polenta in the produce department of your local grocery, cut off a few rounds, sauté them along with the fish, and plate with your fish. Firm fleshed fish like sheepshead, tripletail and even lionfish are all excellent choices for this version of fried fish. FS

First Published Florida Sportsman February 2019

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