I eat a lot of almonds, but I try to experiment with different ways to cook with them to keep things interesting. They are really versatile, and work well in a huge variety of different applications. This time I decided to use them in a simple meal of fried fish. I used Swai, but this works really well with tilapia, or your favorite white fish. I’ve noticed that frying tends to mute most spices, so I decided to use Chinese Five-Spice, a powerfully aromatic blend of spices like cinnamon, cloves, and star anise. It adds a complex blend of sweet, bitter, and savory flavors, that, with some experimentation, can make a meal stand out.
The key to this recipe is controlling the oil temperature. I didn’t want to deep fry the fish because I knew it would affect the flavor (and because I didn’t feel like cleaning up a bunch of oil). I’d suggest frying only one or two pieces at a time, and keeping the finished pieces warm until ready to serve. If you crowd the pan, the oil will get cold, and the fish will be absorbing oil instead of frying–it will lose it’s crispiness, and still be greasy when it’s time to eat.
I battered the fish with a blend of rice flour, and toasted almonds I crushed into a fine powder. I only used salt, pepper, and five-spice–a rare moment of restraint that definitely paid off.
Give this one a try–you’ve got this.
4-6 Swai Filets
3 Cups Slivered Almonds
3 Cups Rice Flour
1/2 Cup Flour
2 Eggs, beaten
1 Tbs Salt
1 Tbs Black Pepper
1 Tsp Red Pepper Flakes
1 Tsp Chinese Five-Spice
3 Tbs Vegetable Oil
- Remove filets from the fridge, and dry completely with paper towel. Season with salt, and pepper, then allow to come to room temperature before cooking.
- Pour almonds into a food processor, and blend until a coarse powder forms. Add rice flower, five-spice, salt, and pepper, then pulse several times to mix. Transfer to a large plate.
- Heat vegetable oil on medium-high in a large frying pan, and coat the bottom of the pan evenly.
- Lightly coat fish in flour, dip them in the eggs, then coat with almond-panko mixture. Allow excess to fall away, then place directly in the pan. Fry until golden on both sides. Transfer to a rack to drain excess oil, then keep warm until ready to serve.