Recipe: Parmesan-Crusted Tilapia with Cucumber, Tomato, and Fennel Relish
The fish is breaded lightly with a mixture of panko and grated Parmesan, which melts and browns and toasts like the best part of a grilled cheese sandwich.
For the fish:
1 large egg
1 cup panko (Japanese breadcrumbs)
½ cup freshly grated Parmesan cheese
2 teaspoon chopped fresh flat-leaf parsley
¼ teaspoon freshly ground black pepper
4 tilapia fillets
¼ cup canola oil
For the relish:
¼ seedless (English) cucumber, cut into ¼-inch cubes
1 heirloom or vine-ripened tomato, seeded and chopped into ¼-inch pieces
½ medium bulb fennel, cut into ¼-inch pieces
1 scallion, sliced
1 orange, peeled and sectioned
2 tablespoons white wine vinegar
¼ cup extra-virgin olive oil
½ teaspoon salt
1 pinch freshly ground black pepper
1 pinch sugar
6 fresh basil leaves, roughly chopped
1. Make the fish: Crack the egg into a wide, shallow bowl, then beat it with a fork with 1 teaspoon water. In another wide, shallow bowl, combine the panko, Parmesan, parsley, and pepper.
2. Dip the fillets, one at a time, into the egg, coating both sides. Then place them one at a time into the crumb mixture to coat, gently turning them to coat both sides and pressing down a bit to help the crumbs stick to the fish. Place the fillets on a platter.
3. In a large sauté pan, heat the canola oil over medium-high heat for about two minutes. Add the coated fillets and cook until golden brown on one side, about five minutes, then carefully flip them and cook until the other side is golden brown, about five minutes more.
4. Make the relish: In a medium bowl, combine the cucumber, tomato, fennel, scallion, orange sections, vinegar, olive oil, salt, pepper, sugar and basil and toss to mix.
5. To serve, place the fillets on plates and spoon the relish over them.
— Adapted by Austin American-Statesman from “Gale Gand’s Lunch!” by Gale Gand (Houghton Mifflin Harcourt, $27.99).