Pan-fried Northern Pike with Summer Vegetables

Ample Bites finally got a chance to cook some the Northern Pike that we caught on our early June fishing trip to Crystal Falls, Michigan. Tonight we combined the pan-fried fish with some summer vegetables most of which were from the Ample Bites Vegetable Garden.

Preparing pan-fried fish scares some cooks away. It is really very easy as long as you have a good heat source that you can control like a gas burner or a gas grill. Pan-frying any fish or meat takes some preparation and there is some clean-up but it is all well worth the effort.

A key technique in pan-frying is to use a milk wash and an egg wash along with a seasoned bread crumb or corn meal breading mixture. Another key is to heat oil over medium to medium high heat until it ripples before putting the fish in to cook. Finally, take care not to overcook the fish. Over proper heat the fish should only take a minute or two per side depending on the thickness of the fish fillets.

Our meal tonight included a fresh beet salad with feta cheese and a medley of sauteed zucchini with onions, tomatoes and freshly grated parmesan cheese.

Pan-fried Fish
(Mark Kelly, 2012)

4 Tbsp canola oil
4 large eggs, whisked in a shallow bowl or dish
1/2 cup milk
1 cup bread crumbs
1 Tbsp garlic powder
1 Tbsp black pepper
1 Tbsp Creole seasoning
2 lemons, cut into 12 wedges
2 – 3 lbs fresh northern pike, walleye, or tilapia fillets (10 – 12 total)

Pour the milk into a shallow dish or bowl with sides at least 3/4″ high. In another shallow dish or bowl, combine the bread crumbs, garlic powder, pepper and Creole seasoning. Mix with a fork until fully combined.

In a large heavy skillet heat the oil over medium-high heat until it ripples then reduce the heat to medium.

In batches, soak 2 – 3 fish fillets in the milk for 1 minute, dredge the fillets one at a time in the bread crumbs, dip the each fillet in the egg wash and the re-dredge in the bread crumbs before placing them in the skillet. Cook each fillet for 1 – 2 minutes per side until and remove them to a baking sheet. Keep fish warm in an oven at 200F until serving. Repeat the breading process and pan frying until all fillets are cooked and ready to serve.

During the pan-frying process it may be necessary to add more oil to the hot pan. This can be done between batches and the oil will reach cooking temperature quite quickly.

When all of the fish has been cooked it is ready to serve right away. Garnish with the lemon wedges and enjoy.

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