Crispy Tilapia Fingers with Lemon & Garlic Mayonnaise
2 pounds tilapia fillets
1 cup all-purpose flour
3 eggs, beaten
2 cups panko
Freshly ground black pepper
1 lemon, cut into wedges, and Lemon-Garlic Mayonnaise (see below) for serving
1. Cut the tilapia into "fingers" by first cutting the fillets in half. Leave the thin sides long, then cut the thicker sides in half on a diagonal so they appear longer.
2. Set up three large, shallow bowls in an assembly line. Put flour in the first bowl; beaten eggs in the second; and panko in the third.
3. Line a baking sheet with aluminum foil. Dredge fish fingers in flour mixture, shaking excess into bowl so just a light coating remains; dip in eggs and turn to coat evenly; then dredge in panko, turning several times to coat evenly. (This can be a messy job...it's best to use one hand for the flour and eggs and the other for the panko.) Set breaded tilapia fingers on baking sheet and season with salt and pepper. Cover and refrigerate until ready to cook (this can be done several hours ahead of time).
4. Line a plate with 3 paper towels and set by the stove. Heat olive oil in large, non-stick saute pan over medium heat. When pan is hot, place first batch of tilapia fingers in pan (do not crowd) and cook until first side is golden brown, about 2-3 minutes. Flip and continue cooking until done, about 2 minutes more. Transfer fish fingers to plate with paper towels and let sit for a minute to drain any excess oil. Remove any brown bits out of pan, add more oil if necessary and continue to cook in batches until done. Season cooked tilapia fingers with more salt if desired. Serve with lemon wedges and Lemon-Garlic Mayonnaise.
1 cup mayonnaise, best quality such as Hellman's
1 clove garlic, minced
2 tablespoons freshly squeezed lemon juice
Salt and freshly ground black pepper, to taste
Mix mayonnaise, garlic and lemon juice in a small bowl. Add salt and pepper to taste.
If you want to freeze the breaded tilapia fingers, lay them in a single layer and wrap well with aluminum foil. Place in a freezer bag in the freezer. When you're ready to make them, simply defrost them enough so they'll lay flat in the pan and cook as directed above.
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