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This recipe came about as the result of a near disaster. In the half-crazed, manic state I was in while preparing for Boy #4’s departure for college, I removed a vacuum sealed package of fillet of sole from my freezer, instead of the chicken I had wanted to prepare for his last meal at home. Fish. Great! What the heck was I going to do with fish? When I bought it, I had envisioned stuffing it with crab or some other deliciousness but I had nothing like that on hand and a trip to the store was NOT in order.
That’s when I went Googling for fish recipes and my, oh my, did I find something wonderful. My dear friend, Martha Stewart (yeah, we’re not friends) has a great recipe for baked fish sticks using tilapia. I decided to mix things up a bit and use my fillet of sole and throw in my own creamy dill dipping sauce. And, that my friends, is how great things happen. And, that’s the end of this story. But, really, try the fish.
So, why don’t we get to work?
First, lets talk about a couple of ingredients. This recipe calls for plain panko bread crumbs. Be sure to buy plain and not Italian style. We are going to add our own seasonings in just a minute.
If you are a seafood lover you should have a cannister of Old Bay in your spice collection. It is a wonderful blend of spices and it just absolutely belongs in dishes like this.
Grab three shallow dishes. Pie plates work perfectly. Place the flour in one of them.
In another dish, lightly whisk your eggs.
In the last of the three dishes, mix together the plain panko bread crumbs, Old Bay Seasoning, garlic powder, dried parsley, just a touch of sea salt, and fresh ground pepper. Toss this mixture together with a couple of tablespoons of olive oil.
Here is the sneaky fillet of sole that was masquerading as chicken in my freezer. I cut some of the larger pieces in half. Tilapia would also be a great choice. Just make sure you are using boneless fillets.
Start the breading process by dredging a piece of fish in the flour.
Transfer the flour coated fish to a piece of foil and repeat with remaining fish. You will dredge all of the fish in flour first before completing the rest of the breading process. I have found it to be a much tidier process to get this step out of the way.
Line a baking sheet with a fresh piece of foil and spray it generously with non-stick cooking spray. Repeat with a second baking sheet if your fish will not fit on just one.
Pierce one of those flour coated pieces of fish with a fork and run it through the beaten egg, coating both sides. Allow excess egg to drip off.
Immediately dredge the egg coated fish through the bread crumb mixture, making sure it is well coated.
As each piece of fish is coated in egg, then in bread crumbs, transfer it to the prepared, foil lined baking sheet. Don’t allow the pieces to touch; use a second baking sheet if necessary.
Bake the fish in a preheated 425 degree oven for about 12 to 15 minutes.
While the fish is in the oven it’s time to whip up the Creamy Dill Sauce. I serve this sauce all the time as an accompaniment for salmon and it’s excellent. In a small bowl combine the mayonnaise, sour cream, lemon juice, dill, onion powder, and garlic salt. I used fresh dill here but if you’ve got dried on hand, use it! It’s great either way.
This one is a keeper. Call me, Martha.
For the Crispy Baked Fish:
- 1-1/2 cups all-purpose flour
- 2 cups plain panko bread crumbs
- 1 tablespoon Old Bay Seasoning
- 1 teaspoon garlic powder
- 2 teaspoons dried parsley
- 2 tablespoons olive oil
- Sea salt and fresh ground pepper to taste
- 3 eggs lightly beaten
- 1-1/2 pounds sole tilapia or cod fillets, cut into smaller pieces if desired
For Creamy Dill Sauce:
- 1/3 cup light or regular sour cream
- 1/3 cup light or regular mayonnaise
- 1 teaspoon fresh lemon juice
- 3/4 teaspoon dried dill weed or 2 tablespoons fresh
- 1/4 teaspoon onion powder
- 1/4 teaspoon garlic salt
- Preheat oven to 425 degrees. Line two baking sheets with aluminum foil and spray generously with non-stick cooking spray; set aside.
- Place flour in a wide shallow dish or pie plate. In another similar dish, combine plain panko bread crumbs, Old Bay, garlic powder, parsley, salt, pepper, and olive oil. In a third shallow dish, lightly beat the eggs.
- Dredge a piece of fish in all-purpose flour, coating both sides. Transfer to a separate piece of foil temporarily. Repeat with remaining pieces of fish.
- One by one dip the flour coated fish first into the egg, allowing excess to drip back into dish, then into panko mixture, coating both sides of the fish well. Place on prepared, foil lined baking sheets and repeat process with remaining flour coated fish.
- Bake until lightly browned, 12 to 15 minutes, rotating sheets from top to bottom halfway through.
- Serve with Creamy Dill Sauce and cocktail sauce for dipping.
Creamy Dill Sauce:
- Combine all ingredients in a small bowl. Refrigerate until ready to serve.