Tuesday, January 17, 2012

Recipe: Sweet Potato Crusted Fish with Lime Vinaigrette

So one of my favorite places to eat in this world has an amazing crusted fish variety, and I felt the best way to beat the winter doldrums and think fondly of my favorite Florida restaurant was to recreate their famous sweet potato crusted fish over mixed greens. Plus, I am fat after the holidays and I needed a tasty and somewhat healthy weeknight recipe. I found a great site that recreates the famous preparation here, so I am adapting that recipe below (with permission) for my own cooking style and taste.

Cilantro Lime Vinaigrette:
1 whole bunch cilantro large stems picked
2 medium cloves garlic
2 limes (juiced)
½ cup olive oil (or grape seed/canola)
1 tablespoon mayo (Hellman's or homemade)
1 teaspoon sea salt
1 teaspoon fresh ground pepper

pinch of sugar
pinch of cayenne

1 pound light flaky fish (I used Cod, it's cheap and a good vessel for crispy starches, but many types will work)
1 large sweet potato, peeled and shredded
1 egg plus 2 egg whites
½ cup flour - seasoned with a pinch of cayenne, sea salt & cracked pepper
2 TBS canola oil (or any high smoke point oil)
2 TBS butter

First make the vinaigrette. Throw everything in the food processor, hit it for about 10 seconds, transfer and reserve in the fridge, covered. Really easy. And incredibly delicious.

Next, get the sweet potatoes in order. Anyone who has worked with these knows they can be hard as hell to work with due to their incredibly hard interior. I combated this by cutting it into chunks and then throwing it in the food processor that was already out and running – just switch out the chopper for the grater blade. Quick, easy, and perfectly shredded. Season up your flour in one dish; get your 2 egg whites plus 1 egg in another dish and mix, and heat your pan.

If you are doing this over a salad, I highly recommend it for a quick healthy meal, get the salad totally ready. Don't worry about dressing. Remember that vinaigrette? Right.

I literally just cleared all of the veggies out of the fridge, opened a can of chickpeas, threw on some dried cranberries, chopped pecans, and shredded some nice Parmigiano Reggiano right on top.

Get your pan good and hot (medium-high heat) and lay down a bed of potato shreds for each piece of fish.

Batter those fish pieces, flour first, then egg, and throw them right on top of the shredded starch piles.

Be careful, because those things will burn. Adjust the heat as needed. When it's moving as one, and to your desired crispness, try to get it all with a thin and sturdy spatula (fish-spatula highly recommended). (Tip: this side will be the one you are displaying, so make sure it looks pretty and don't worry about a little burning, it won't come through in the finished product and will build flavor.) At this point, while it's held mid-air, you build another potato nest and carefully flip your fish in a blanket onto it's un-crusted side.

Lower the heat a bit and cover if the fish is thick, but in my case, the fish cooked extremely fast, so just try to get the other side crispy as well. Don't forget to add butter. When it's finished, carefully throw that thing onto your pre-built salad. If you forgot to pre-build, give yourself a light smack for failing to follow directions and let your dinner get cold on a plate while assembling. Or if you are not a masochist, just have a delightful piece of sweet potato crust fish with the vinaigrette and pretend you never wanted the salad in the first place. The fish will stay incredibly moist, and the dressing will make you look like a pro, even though the total cook time (including prep, excluding cleanup) start to finish is less than 40 minutes.


Anonymous said...

This looks pretty amazing! I'm going to attempt it tonight for dinner.


Philly Phoodie said...

Flinger- It's seriously one of the best and cheapest preparations of fish ever. If you READ CAREFULLY you will have no problem. You can also use regular potatoes if you like. Or throw some horseradish or crushed nuts in there as well. Let me know how it turns out.

Anonymous said...

As usual I wasn't disappointed with a recipe that I found on Philly Phoodie! I really liked that sauce too, I might have to whip it up again for other meals.

I'm emailing you some pictures now...


Anonymous said...

If this is close to the restaurant I believe you are talking about I will die. I've been trying to recreate this recipe for a while and haven't had success yet.