Crispy Fish with Lemon, Chili and Fried Garlic
Serves 2 (there is enough sauce for 4 filets if you want to feed more people! Or dip some bread in it!)
- Large cast iron pan
- Instant read thermometer optional
- Medium heat resistant bowl
- Small Pan
- Wire rack or a paper towel lined plate.
- Vegetable oil for shallow frying
- 1 tsp chopped Calabrian chilis
- 1 Tbsp drained capers
- 1 lemon zested and juiced
- 3 Tbsp finely chopped fresh parsley
- ⅓ cup olive oil
- 5 large cloves of garlic thinly sliced
- Rice flour for dredging
- Kosher salt and pepper to taste
- 2 skin on branzino or sea bass filets descaled
- 1-2 anchovies
- Lemon wedges for serving, if desired
- Add about 1 inch of vegetable oil to a large cast iron pan, and heat until hot (325ºF). You can add a touch of rice flour to the oil to see if it sizzles to test the temp if you don’t have an instant read thermometer.
- While oil heats, add chilis, capers, lemon zest, lemon juice, and parsley to a medium heat resistant bowl. Set aside.
- Add olive oil and garlic to a small pan over medium low heat. Fry garlic, stirring constantly, until the garlic is pale golden (careful not to overcook!). Remove to a paper towel lined plate and season with a little pinch of salt. Set fried garlic aside, and remove oil from heat but do not discard! We will be coming back to that!*
- When oil it ready, season only the flesh side of the fish with salt and pepper. Dredge in rice flour and shake off the excess. Carefully add fish to the hot oil skin side down. Press down lightly with a spatula on the filets if they start to curl up at all.
- Fry until golden and crispy on the skin side. Flip and cook just 1-2 minutes more until fish is cooked through. The majority of the cooking will be done on the skin side! If you think your fish is sticking in the skin side, it just means it is not ready to flip. Just let it continue to cook, adjusting the heat as needed, and it will release itself when its ready!
- Remove fish to a wire rack, or a paper towel lined plate.
- Return the garlic oil to the heat and add in anchovies. Heat until the anchovies have melted and the oil is warm again. Carefully, pour warm oil over the chili, lemon, parsley mix. Stir to combine, and season with salt to taste.
- Serve sauce over crispy fish with lemon wedges if desired. Enjoy!
*Make sure to remove the garlic when it is barely golden. It will not seem crispy yet, but it keeps cooking out of the oil and crisps when fully cooled. If you take it out when it looks “perfectly golden brown”, it will be overcooked and very bitter once it cools.
Tried this recipe?Let us know how it was!