Whitefish is one of my favorite fish to eat. While I particularly enjoy them smoked, this recipe for Parmesan-crusted whitefish is a delectable way to turn these fierce fish into a formal meal. The contrast between the tender, flaky fish and the crispy crust is hard to match. The simple, yet flavorful cream sauce ties it all together. Read on for the recipe, as well as for tips and substitutions.
Parmesan-crusted whitefish recipe
- 2 Tbsp. Olive oil
- 4 cloves Minced garlic
- 1 cup Cherry tomatoes, halved
- 3/4 cup Heavy cream
- 4 Whitefish fillets, skinned
- Salt (to taste)
- Pepper (to taste)
- 1/2 cup Flour
- 2 eggs, beaten
- 1 cup Shredded parmesan cheese
- 1 cup Panko bread crumbs
- 1 tsp. Granulated garlic
- Vegetable oil (for frying)
Step 1: Place a medium skillet over medium heat. Add olive oil. Once the oil is hot, add garlic, and cook until translucent. Add tomatoes and cook for two minutes. After reducing the heat to medium-low, add the heavy cream. Simmer until the sauce can coat the back of a spoon (about 15 minutes). Sprinkle in salt to taste.
Step 2: Coat the bottom of another skillet with vegetable oil and place over medium heat.
Step 3: Briefly rinse the whitefish fillets and pat dry. Sprinkle salt and pepper over each side.
Step 4: Grab two medium bowls. Into one bowl, add breadcrumbs, garlic, and Parmesan. Stir to combine. In the other bowl, crack the eggs and use a fork to gently beat.
Step 5: One-by-one, add the whitefish fillets to the flour. After shaking off the excess, dredge in the beaten eggs, then transfer to the bowl filled with the bread crumb mixture.
Step 6: Add the filets to the heated skillet, being sure not to over-crowd. Cook for roughly two minutes per side.
Step 7: Place cooked fillets onto a paper towel or cooling rack.
Step 8: Plate the fillets, cover with sauce, and enjoy.
Tips and substitutions
Fresh whitefish is the best whitefish. If you can help it, try not to freeze your catch. The meat loses a lot of its integrity when frozen then thawed. The guides we fished with recently even had us put our fish in insulated bags while we were out on the ice to prevent our haul from hardening.
If you are taking the skin off the fillets yourself, you will need an incredibly sharp knife. While the meat cooks up nicely, it can be quite soft. The sharper your knife, the better.
When dredging the fillets, be sure to dedicate one of your hands to the dry portions of the process and the other to the egg portion. This will keep things cleaner and help prevent you from developing “club-hand.” Better yet, use a pair of tongs.
Basil can be added to the sauce for an extra layer of flavor. If you go this route, simply chop the basil as your fish are cooking and stir it into the sauce shortly before service.
Oil temperature is the key to the best results. If the oil is too hot, the fish won’t cook properly. If it’s not hot enough, the crust will take too long to crisp and the end product will be greasy. While I would love to give you a specific oil temperature for reference, it is going to vary based upon the thickness of your fillets and coating.
To overcome this, I suggest working in small batches. These are often like pancakes. The first one might be so-so but, if you adjust the temperature and cooking time correctly, the rest will be right on the money.
If you’re not a fan of the sauce, you can always opt for homemade tartar sauce.