Pecan Crusted Fish

Fried fish can be flakey and delicious-especially when served piping hot with dipping sauce. But frying fish means dealing with tons of grease, both while cooking and in your food. For a lighter, easier to prepare alternative, try this pecan crusted fish recipe. I like to use swai, but any white fish can be used with similar results. This recipe can be prepared quickly, cooked in the oven, and enjoyed with a variety of side dishes, making it one of my favorite go-to recipes on a busy weeknight.

With this pecan crusted fish dish, you get the satisfying crunch of fried fish without the heaviness of a battered, fried filet. And, unlike vegetable and peanut oils, the fats found in pecans offer health benefits such as increased energy and lowering triglycerides, according to NutritionandYou.com (Reference 1). In addition to being healthier, pecan crusted fish is quicker to cook since you can bake it all at once instead of frying a few pieces at a time in several batches.  This dish is so easy to throw together that you can even let your kids help.

Ingredients

  • 6-8 large fish filets (Swai, tilapia, or other white fish)
  • 1 ½ cups Self-rising or all purpose white wheat flour
  • ½  to 1 pound of chopped pecans
  • 1 tablespoon  Whole grain or yellow mustard
  • 1 cup milk
  • 2 tsp. ground garlic
  • 1 tsp. minced onion
  • 1 tsp. Red chili flakes (optional)
  •  Salt and peper to taste
  • Olive oil

Directions

1. Preheat oven to 425 degrees Fahrenheit
2. Line a baking sheet or casserole dish with foil (for easier clean up)
3. Drizzle olive oil on prepared cooking dish, coating bottom lightly
4. Mix together milk and mustard in a large flat dish, soak fish in the mixture while preparing the dredge. This step serves the dual purpose of making the fish easier to dredge and the mustard removes fish odors/flavors form the filets.
4. Using a food processor, finely chop pecans for 1-2 minutes. You should end up with some of the pecans being powdered and some being in small bits.
5. Add 1 ½ cups flour and pecans to a plastic storage bag.
6 Add seasonings to the pecan and flour mixture: shake to combine.
7. Using a slotted spatula, slightly drain one piece of fish and add it to the dredging mixture. Seal the bag and shake to coat your fish.
8. Lay coated filet on baking dish and repeat steps six and seven with remaining filets.
9. Lightly drizzle olive oil over the fish and bake in the oven for 20-25 minutes until coating  is golden brown.
10. Serve hot alongside your favorite starch and veggies.

Dipping Sauce

Instead of the standard fried fish dips of ketchup, tartar sauce, or remoulade, try dipping this crunchy fish in a mixture of melted butter, brown sugar, and chili powder.

Cooking Tips

1. If you enjoy spicy food, you can drizzle 1-2 teaspoons of chili oil over the fish before baking to add a little heat.
2. If, while baking, you find that the dredge is browning too quickly (every oven cooks slightly differently) simply remove the fish from the oven and cover your pan or dish with aluminum fol before replacing into the oven to finish cooking.
3. For a sweet variation of this dish, substitute ½ cup of flour for ½ cup of sweetened, shredded coconut flakes.
4. To make this recipe gluten free, substitute oatmeal for flour and run the oats through your food processor for 1 minute to powder them.

References
1. http://www.nutrition-and-you.com/pecans.html