This fish feels particularly indulgent, even though the dish begins with a purchase of tilapia–often the cheapest filets at the market. But its coconut coating and crisp, addictive vegetable salsa take it over the top.
Serve each filet atop some white jasmine rice.
1/3 cup flour
½ teaspoon salt
¼ teaspoon ground white pepper
¾ cup panko
¾ cup unsweetened shredded coconut
2 tablespoons safflower oil
Two ½-pound filets tilapia
Take out three shallow bowls. In one, put the flour, half the salt, and half the pepper. In the next, beat the egg well. In the last, combine the panko, coconut, and the remaining salt and pepper.
Rinse each tilapia filet and pat dry. Dredge the first through the flour, coating both sides, then transfer to the bowl with the egg, flipping to coat. Last, place the filets in the coconut/panko mixture, pressing it onto the filet and flipping to coat both sides. Repeat with the second filet.
In a large frying pan, heat the oil over medium heat until just smoking. Add the filets and cover the pan. Cook for about 3 minutes, until the fish releases easily from the bottom. Flip the filets, then put the cover back on and cook another 3-4 minutes, until the crust is brown and the fish is opaque and flakes easily.
Transfer to a plate and top with the vegetable salsa and garnish with the mint.
Makes 1-2 cups Ingredients
½ large cucumber, seeds removed, cut into ¼-inch dice (about 1 cup)
4 radishes, trimmed and cut into ¼-inch dice (1/2 cup)
½ red pepper, cut into ¼-inch dice (1/2 cup)
¼ cup packed fresh mint leaves, plus more for garnish
1/2 teaspoon sugar
red pepper flakes
1 clove garlic, pureed with salt
2 scallions, white and green parts thinly sliced
½ teaspoon neutral oil, such as grapeseed or safflower
¼ teaspoon sesame oil (optional)
1 ½ tablespoons lime juice.
Combine all the salsa ingredients in a bowl (except the mint for garnish) and mix well. Cover and place in the refrigerator for at least 1 hour and up to 2.