Breading is one of my favorite ways to prepare basically any kind of fresh fish fillets that you might bring home after a nice day out on the water. Currently my 25 Whaler Revenge is at home for her annual preventative maintenance work and minor upgrades - preparing for the 2009 season. Regardless that today's San Diego weather was another warm, calm Santa Ana, perfect for rock cod fishing down on the North Finger Bank off of Puerto Nuevo, Mexico, but without the boat, I had no choice other than visiting a local seafood vendor for this recipe. So I went with some local halibut that was looking incredibly great. I love halibut fishing off San Diego, but cooking California halibut presents one tough challenge, and that is if it is overcooked, it becomes dried out. There is basically little room for error, and this is where the benefits of breading fish works perfectly.
Here are a few benefits from this cooking method:
- Breading helps the fish to hold its moisture.
- Bread Crumbs are a simple starting point for anything you would like to flavor them with: Porcini Mushroom Powder, Fresh Herbs, Pureed Cured Olives, Sun Dried Tomato, Parmesan Cheese, Mustard-Dill and on and on.
- There are a variety of Breading Bases that you can start with. Panko Bread Crumbs, Seasoned Panko Bread Crumbs, Fresh Ground Bread Crumbs from any loaf of bread you can buy, Seasoned White Bread Crumbs, etc.
This recipe includes a Cauliflower-Yukon Mash, which is another chapter on a perfect match for your fresh catch. More on that later...
Basil-Chive Breaded Halibut
Cauliflower-Yukon Gold Mash
4 Ea. Fresh Halibut Fillets
½ TBSP. Seasoning Mix-Your Choice
3 Cups Panko Bread Crumbs
1 Ea. Fresh Egg
2 TBSP. Fresh, Whole Milk
3-4 TBSP. All Purpose Flour
¼ Cup Finely Chopped Fresh Basil
¼ Cup Finely Chopped Fresh Chives
Using a hand held immersion blender, use the "chopper" attachment, mix the Panko bread crumbs & herbs until the mixture takes on a nice, green color and place in a mixing bowl. Season the fillets and hold on a plate. Mix the egg, milk & flour to create a batter like consistency and hold them in another bowl. Lightly coat the fish with some of the egg batter, then bread with a generous amount of the breading mix.
Cauliflower-Yukon Gold Mash
½ Head Cauliflower, Finely Chopped
3 Ea. Large Yukon Potatoes, Peeled & Diced
4 Ozs. Butter
3 Ozs. Heavy Cream
Heat a pot of lightly salted water to a simmer, add the potatoes and simmer until soft, then add the cauliflower and simmer a few more minutes to soften up the cauliflower. Drain and then place back in the pot and add the cream & butter. Use a blender or hand masher to make the mash. I like to keep it on the chunky side and season with S&P.
Heat up a frying pan with canola oil and lightly pan fry the fish until they are fully cooked. Place on a paper towel to drain. Spoon some of the mash in the center of the plate, top with the fish and surround with the tomato butter.