Fridge to Fork: Old-Fashioned Fish Supper

This is the second installment in my new “Fridge to Fork” series, in which I attempt to show how easily — and with how few ingredients — an appealing and relatively unprocessed family dinner can come together.  This meal is my answer to fish sticks (or, I suppose, fish and chips) and is a huge favorite with not only the kids in this house, but with J. and me as well.  You can use practically any fish; this time, we chose flounder because it was 60% off at Whole Foods, which meant I could buy double the necessary amount and freeze a whole second batch of ready-to-eat breaded fish.

Simple Breaded Fish, Crispy Roasted Potatoes, Baked Acorn Squash, and Greens

4:50 p.m.: Ingredient Assembly

Fish.  Greens.  Squash.  Potatoes.  Flour.  Panko.  Eggs.  Seasonings.  Oil.  And someone’s forgotten cup in the background.

4:55 p.m.: What's easier than roasted potatoes?

 Chunked up four Yukon Gold potatoes.  All they need is a drizzle of olive oil, some salt and pepper, and a hot oven.  Patience doesn’t hurt, either.  400 degrees for about 45 minutes, depending on your potatoes and your oven, turning once.  If they won’t loosen and flip easily when you try to turn them, they need more time.  Trust me — when they come out super crispy and delicious, you’ll be happy you were patient.

5:00 p.m.: Squash guts

Cut the squash in half, scrape the seeds out with a spoon…

Acorn squash, ready for the oven

…And then it’s just like the potatoes — olive oil, salt, pepper, and into the oven.  Forget about it for somewhere around 30 minutes, until it’s nice and tender.

5:05 p.m.: Breading station

Dish 1: Flour, seasoned with a pinch each of salt, pepper, and paprika.
Dish 2: Beaten eggs.  3 or 4 should do it.
Dish 3: Panko breadcrumbs, salt, pepper, and garlic powder.  3-4 cups of breadcrumbs will coat 2 pounds of fish, give or take.

5:10 p.m.: Fish into flour...

Floured fish into egg...

Eggy fish into panko...

5:25 p.m.: The fish awaits its fate.

From here, it’s a short trip into hot oil — about 1/2 inch of whatever cooking oil you feel good about using (neutral-flavored is best, and something that can take the heat — canola, vegetable, and peanut oils are the traditional choices) is fine.  You want the oil hot enough that a few crumbs of panko dropped into the skillet produce a good sizzle and rapid, tiny bubbles, but not so hot that it smokes or immediately browns anything.  For thin fish like this, 3 minutes a side was plenty to cook it through and get it crispy and brown.

5:45 p.m.: Dinner.

Long story short: I tossed the greens with some lemon and olive oil and threw everything else into serving vessels.  Crispy, crunchy, slightly salty, savory…I’m glad we’ve got extras in the freezer.
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10 Responses to Fridge to Fork: Old-Fashioned Fish Supper

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  4. Claire says:

    Once you freeze the fish how do you reheat for best results?

    • I heat it up in the toaster oven, straight from frozen. It takes about 10-15 minutes on 400 degrees to thaw and re-crisp the crust. For packing in lunches, I do that first thing and assemble the rest of the lunchbox while the fish is cooking; then I take it out, let it cool, and pack it up. L. has taken this fish to school twice in the past week, heated from the freezer this way, and loved it.


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  6. Uly says:

    Off-topic, but I don’t want this to get lost:

    A recipe for banana peel chutney! (And here we all thought those things weren’t edible!)

    • That is just too cool. I want to say I’m brave enough to try it, but not sure…!

      • Uly says:

        A friend of mine, her mother-in-law once made plantains for dinner one day, and then cooked the peels the next. She didn’t like the peels, but then, as she told me, she doesn’t like her mother-in-law’s cooking to begin with, so that’s not conclusive.

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