Crispy Crunchy Baked Fish with Lemon Caper Sauce

Recently we were at Breckenridge Brewery and I saw some oversized, shiny fish sticks resting on a pile of crispy fries walk by. Suddenly, I remembered my Pescatarian days when I opted for Fish Sticks at places where a Vegetarian menu was a foreign term. Not exactly healthy, but typically wipe-the-grease-off-your-chin tasty.

Now, I was craving the crispy coating around the moist fluffy white fish. However, my lack of desire to have a deep fryer and the obvious amount of fat oozing around an otherwise healthy piece of fish were preventing me from ordering a plate full. So, I worked out my own crispy dish o’ fish.

This recipe is inspired by a recipe in a Cuisine at Home magazine from a couple years ago. While Panko breadcrumbs are fabulous for any breading I wanted a bit more crispiness and dare I say greasiness. A small bag of potato chips did the trick. I used the unsalted Kettle Chips so I could better control the salt. Mustard gives a bit more flavor and while I usually have a nice relish on hand for a quick tarter sauce all I could find were capers… and my Lemon-Caper Sauce was created to be the final touch!

I also have an obsession with Kale and noticed that it is a common decoration in the Seafood Department (what a waste!) so I quickly sautéed a pile of kale to balance out my crispy seafood feast.

Crisp-Crusty Fish
½ cup low-sodium potato chips, crushed into pieces
½ cup panko breadcrumbs
2 tbls grated parmesan cheese
1 tbls Italian seasonings
2 tbls mustard
2 eggs, lightly beaten
1 lb tilapia, cut into pieces that are even sizes, typically I cut through the center to create two long pieces
olive oil in a mister can

On a plate, toss together the potato chips, pankos, parmesan, and seasonings. Whisk together the mustard and beaten eggs in shallow bowl. Dip the tilapia pieces into the mustard egg mixture. Shake off the excess and place in the crumb mixture. Adhere the crumbs, pressing in slightly.

Preheat the oven to 475. Place the fish on a baking sheet lined with foil. As the oven heats up it will give the coating a few minutes to “dry” itself onto the fish. Just before placing in the oven, spray the fish with the olive oil spray. Flip over the fish pieces, spray again lightly with the olive oil. Roast for 5-8 minutes. Flip over the fish and bake for 4-6 more minutes until the fish is golden and flaky when broken. Or slightly firm when you touch it in the center.

Sauteed Kale
1 bunch Kale, washed and torn into pieces
1/2 teaspoon olive oil or a quick spray from the mister
1/2 teaspoon salt and pepper to taste

Heat a saute pan over medium-high heat. Drizzle in the olive oil and toss in the kale pieces. Quickly saute tossing the leaves until they crisp in some places and wilt in others.

Lemon Caper Sauce
1/4 cup mayonnaise or vegenaise
1/2 lemon juiced, about 1-2 tablespoons
1 heaping tablespoon capers
salt and pepper to taste

Whisk together the mayo with the lemon juice. Make it as tangy as you like it. Stir in the capers. Season with salt and pepper to taste and serve alongside the Crispy Crunchy Baked Fish.

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