We used to eat a lot of store bought fish sticks around here but have decided when they are this easy to make with fresh ingredients we will pass on the processed kind! These are gluten free and depending on what spread you use they can be dairy free too. You can do whole filets or cut into nuggets / sticks for bite size fun!
If using frozen filets thaw them in cold water in the fridge. Then place them on a paper towel lined baking sheet and season with salt and pepper. Here is where you need to decide if you are going to leave them whole or cut.
While the first side is down in the cornmeal spread the coating on the topside of the fish. The pressure from you spreading the top coating on will help pat the coating onto the bottom side of the fish. Its a win win.
At this time start about 1 Tbs olive oil in a pan over med to med-high heat. While this is heating up you will flip the pieces over so the top side is coated as well. I tried to use my tongs to pinch the very corner of the fish pieces so as not to smudge the coating. You may have to wipe the tips of your tongs several times throughout this whole process!
Once the oil is hot place the first batch of fish into the pan. Don’t try to move it around after you place it in the pan. Let it sear. After a few minutes check a corner with a spatula. If there is a nice brown color flip the piece. Remember fish will have various thicknesses so some pieces will take longer than others.
Pan frying has a learning curve so don’t worry if they don’t start out perfect. Here was my first batch. Wipe pan out with a paper towel and add another Tbs of oil. Repeat the same steps with the second batch.
Cornmeal Crusted Tilapia
Tilapia-4 filets (or fish of your choice)
1 1/2 cup plain cornmeal
1 cup plain greek yogurt or mayo
Salt & Pepper
Olive oil for pan
Place cornmeal in shallow baking dish, season with salt & pepper. Place thawed fish filets on a paper towel lined baking sheet. Season with salt and pepper. Using an offset spatula spread yogurt/mayo on the fish to coat. Place coating side down in cornmeal. Spread top side with coating and flip. Heat 1 Tbs oil (per batch) in pan over medium to med high heat. Once oil is hot place 1 batch (2 filets worth) of fish in pan. Do not move in pan until seared (3-4 minutes). When lightly browned flip and pan fry other side. Once fish is done transfer to a paper towel lined plate to drain excess oil. Wipe out pan with paper towel. Add another Tbs oil. Repeat with second batch. Serve hot!