The pickle man

Tuesday, June 14, 2011

Caramelized White Fish

I know, just when you were thinking I was only cooking desserts this summer... but don't worry, plenty of sweetness in this recipe... and also, for a dinner get-together this weekend, I will be making peach crisp (my other favorite summer dessert).

But onto the main course - caramelized white fish.  I found this recipe (and 12 other things to do to white fish) in a New York Times article.  Another flavor variation suggested was tomatoes, capers, and lemon...  But we liked this the best.

3 good things about this recipe:

1. It's flexible. You can use any white fish.  I used frozen tilapia, but will probably try catfish, flounder, whatever your grocery has that is looking fresh.  I dream about doing this to fresh red snapper.

2. It is ready in under 15 minutes.  Seriously.

3.  It is delicious. I think my husband licked his plate.  And it is different - sweet and spicy and... well, since it's ready in less than 15 minutes, you should just try it.

Start with 1/2 cup brown sugar, seasoned with salt, pepper, and red pepper.

Allow extra for tasting...

Dredge the fish in the sugar mixture...

Put the vegetable oil in a big cast-iron skillet, and place it in the oven with the broiler on Hi.  Remove from the oven when the oil is smoking.

Then, place the fish fillets in the sizzling oil... and put it back under the broiler.

after 2 minutes, flip them over...
2 more minutes, and they are finished!  (If you are using thick fillets, you may want to check the flakiness with a fork).

Condensed recipe, adapted from The New York Times

1 Tbs vegetable oil
4 thin fillets of white fish (I used previously frozen tilapia)
1/2 cup light brown sugar (although dark would probably also be wonderful)
1/4 tsp Kosher salt
1/2 tsp coarse, freshly ground black pepper

Garnish:  lots of fresh mint, chopped
red pepper flakes

Turn the broiler in the oven to "Hi" and position the top rack about 4 inches from the heat source.
Allow the oven to preheat for 5 minutes while you get everything else read.
Pour the oil into a large cast iron skillet (or other broiler safe dish - a glass pyrex would work).
Place the skillet in the oven to heat for 5 minutes.

Meanwhile, mix the brown sugar, salt, and pepper in a shallow bowl.  Dredge both sides of each fish fillet in the mixture.  You will have to get your hands dirty - press the sugar into the fillets.

Pull the skillet out of the oven and drop the fillets in.
Place back in the oven for 2 minutes.
Pull out the skillet and flip the fillets over.
Place back under the broiler for another 2-3 minutes (depending on the thickness of the fillets, this might need to be a little longer - mine were very thin).

Remove from the oven, place the fish on a plate, and drizzle the pan sauce over the fish.  Top with minced mint and red pepper flakes (unless you are serving to the kids - they will do better without the garnish).

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