One of the foods I loved the most growing up was breaded fish. Even as a kid, I knew that the combination of the crunchy, yet airy, outer layer with the delicate texture inside just worked. The fish stick is iconic for a reason. Unfortunately, breaded fish is also a lollapalooza of gluten, grains, and carbs, making it difficult to consume in many diets.
When we were first experimenting with our chips in the kitchen, we discovered that, in addition to being great tortilla chips, they are also the perfect grain free substitute for panko (Japanese breadcrumbs). Panko, versus "traditional" breadcrumbs, are lighter and flakier and the chips also have this quality when used as a breading. When compared to almond meal (a typical paleo substitute for breading), the chips are more compatible with the flavor of fish and produce the crisp, flaky texture you want.
The key to this recipe is grinding the chips down in your hands (please wash them!) until they are the fine consistency you'd expect from breadcrumbs. If the breading is too thick, the chips won't gain color and crispiness quickly enough.
To pair with the fish, an awesome filet of Texas-caught Black Drum, I prepared a citrus slaw and a side of lemon aioli. Black Drum has a mild flavor and a meaty texture (similar to Red Snapper), so the citrus helps balance the weight of the fish and combine the flavors of the fish, the breading, and the slaw.
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Chip Crusted Black Drum
Prep Time: 30 minutes
Total Time: 65 minutes
Chip Crusted Drum:
- 1 1/2lb Black Drum (or another mild, meaty fish like Red Drum or Snapper)
- 4 tbsp Duck Fat, liquid (we used EPIC)
- 1 cup Coconut Milk (unsweetened)
- 1/2 bag Siete Grain Free Sea Salt Tortilla Chips
- 3 Fresno or Cherry Bomb Peppers, thinly sliced into circles
- Pepper to taste
Red Citrus Slaw:
- 1 small head of Red Cabbage, shredded into thin, 1 inch long strips
- 1 tbsp Agave Nectar
- 1/2 cup Avocado Oil
- 2/3 cup Orange Juice, freshly squeezed
- 1/3 cup Lime Juice, freshly squeezed
- 1 small Red Onion, chopped
- 3 cloves of Garlic, chopped
- 4 tbsp Cilantro
- Salt and pepper, to taste
- 1 tbsp Orange Zest
- 2 Egg Yolks
- 4 cloves of Garlic, crushed
- 2 tbsp Lemon Juice
- 1/2 tbsp Dijon Mustard
- 1/3 cup Avocado Oil
- Salt and pepper to taste
Chip Crusted Drum:
- Pre-heat the oven to 450ºF
- Prepare a baking sheet.
- Cut your fish into four, equal-sized pieces.
- Combine the duck fat and the coconut milk to create the dredging liquid. We used duck fat because it helps give a nutty, crispy flavor to the breading, but the animal or plant-based fat of your choice will work fine. Just make sure it's liquid before you combine.
- Use your hands to finely grind the tortilla chips into breadcrumb sized pieces. This should take about 5 minutes if working consistently. No chip chunk shoulder be bigger than the diameter of a pencil-top eraser. Add pepper to the chips.
- Dunk your fish portions into the dredging liquid, coating all sides, and roll through the finely ground chips in order to completely coat the fish. Feel free to add more on top, so that the fish is completely coated.
- Place the chip-breaded fish portions onto the baking sheet, and bake at 450ºF for 10-12 minutes or until the chips have turned golden brown.
- Remove from oven, let cool slightly and place onto a bed of citrus slaw. Garnish with sliced peppers and use aioli as a condiment. Serve!
Red Citrus Slaw:
- Blend everything but the cabbage and the orange zest.
- Toss the cabbage in the citrus dressing.
- Let sit in the refrigerator, covered, for 30 minutes to 1 hour. Finish with orange zest.
- Create an acid-base by putting your mustard and lemon juice into a small mixing bowl.
- Add the egg yolks and whisk until the ingredients are combined.
- Slowly add the oil to the acid-base and quickly whisk as you add it. Work incrementally, making sure the oil has been completely emulsified before adding more. Once all the oil has been whisked in, whisk in the garlic.
- Season with salt and pepper.