Exploring vegan, vegetarian and sustainable cooking

Tilapia and potatoes cooked in duck fat

I love fish and chips and find it hard to resist when I see it on a menu. While I won’t batter and deep-fry fish at home, I do enjoy breading and pan-frying fish. So whenever I see a good price on tilapia filets (or similar fish) at the grocery store, I pick them up.

While I was getting ready to bread the tilapia, it dawned on me that I had about a cup of duck fat in the fridge from Tuesday night’s dinner. I figured I could use the duck fat for both frying the fish, and as a substitute for olive oil for the roasted potato wedges.

For the potatoes (russets are the best for this), I cut each of them lengthwise into 6 wedges. Generally, I toss them in olive oil, salt, pepper and herbs. I them roast them at 425°F for about 30 minutes (the cut side of the wedges should be flat on the baking sheet; flip them halfway through cooking).

The fish get a simple breadcrumb coating. First dredge the fish in flour. Then dip them into lightly beaten eggs. Finally, coat with breadcrumbs. For the best texture, skip the dried breadcrumbs in the grocery store. Instead, go for the Japanese-style panko breadcrumbs, or make your own fresh breadcrumbs. These have a much coarser texture and make a huge difference in the final product. Heat a quarter-inch of oil (or in this case, duck fat) over medium to medium-high heat, and fry the fish for a few minutes on each side until the breadcrumbs are a deep golden brown.

(To make fresh breadcrumbs, take a stale loaf of bread, cut into 1-inch cubes, and process in batches in a food processor. Don’t over-process, since you want to keep the crumbs relatively coarse. Store the crumbs in the freezer in an airtight container.)

Serve with tartar sauce, or simply some good quality mayonnaise.

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