This is a method of cooking fish fillets that I learned when I was cooking in restaurants. My favorite fish to cook this way is petrale sole, which you can sometimes find here in fish markets or Central Market. While Dover sole is a small-ish fillet, very tender and fragile, petrale is a bigger, meatier flatfish, like flounder. Some of the fillets would easily fill a 12-inch steel sauté pan. Tilapia also works well. It is a firm-fleshed, mild-flavored white fish. In this dish, its fresh flavor is not overwhelmed by the mild coating of flour and egg, lemon and butter.
Sautéed Tilapia With Butter-Toasted Almonds
6 tablespoons butter, divided use
4 (6-ounce) tilapia fillets
3/4 cup flour, seasoned well with salt and white pepper, to taste
2 eggs, scrambled in a wide, shallow bowl
1 lemon, cut in half and seeded
1/2 cup sliced almonds, lightly toasted
1 tablespoon finely minced fresh parsley, for garnish
1 lemon, cut in wedges, for garnish
Over medium heat, melt 3 tablespoons butter in a large non-stick skillet or sauté pan. Meanwhile, dredge each of the fillets in the seasoned flour, turning so the surface of each fillet is completely coated. Put each flour-covered fillet on a clean, dry plate.
When the butter is starting to sizzle and smell fragrant, but not browned, dip each of the fillets into the egg, making sure it is well coated. Then, put the fillets in the pan and saute, turning, until each side is golden and the fish is firm. You might need to do these fillets 2 at a time. Keep the fish warm in a low oven or on a heated, covered plate.
When all fillets are cooked, wipe out the sauté pan with a paper towel. Put it back on the heat and put in the almonds. Stir and toss them over the heat until they are lightly toasted. Add the remaining butter and let the almonds and butter sizzle together until the butter just starts to brown and the almonds are coloring. Squeeze the juice of half of 1 lemon into the pan and swirl. Put each of the warm fillets on a plate and divide butter and almonds between the four plates, spooning the almonds and sauce over the top of the fish. Use the other half of lemon to squeeze more lemon on top of the almonds. Sprinkle a little minced parsley on top. Serve with lemon wedges on the side.
Makes 4 servings.
From Bonnie Walker
Recipe part of: WalkerSpeak: Casual or Fancy, Keep Tilapia Around