My family loves seafood in all forms–fried, baked, steamed, raw. Shrimp, fish, mussels, clams, squid, octopus. You name it. They’ll eat it. Excitement abounds from my little foodie children when I tell them we’re having fish for dinner, so imagine my delight when tonight’s dinner elicited not only squeals of delight before dinner, but sounds of nom nom nom and second and third helpings during dinner!
This dish calls for duck fat, but if you don’t have duck fat, olive oil or coconut oil are great alternatives. However, a word about duck fat. I love it. It’s amazing. Imagine your favorite foods. Yummy… Now imagine them cooked in duck fat. Oh my... Yes, it’s that good. Acquiring duck fat isn’t the easiest thing. It’s not sold in stores, so you have to drain it out of the duck yourself. Luckily, in Korea, duck is abundant and relatively inexpensive. Pick up a pack of smoked duck breast at your local mart and just collect the drippings as you grill it. (I collect the duck fat in a ceramic bowl then strain it with a small strainer as I pour it into a jar.) One duck breast will give you about a cup of duck fat. In the U.S., your best bet is to go to your local Asian grocery story. Whole ducks can be found in the frozen section for far less than you’d pay at a specialty grocery store. Roasting a whole duck and collecting the drippings will give you about 1.5 to 2 cups of fat. Double yum! If you’ve never roasted a duck before, then here’s an excellent tutorial from someone who may possible love duck fat even more than I do! 😉
Perfect Pan-Fried Tilapia Recipe
1 large bag of tilapia fillets (defrosted) – a large bag typically contains 11-12 individually sealed fillets. For my family, I cooked the entire bag and we only had 2 fillets left for my husband to take to for lunch!
2 cups of almond meal
1 tsp salt
1 tsp fresh ground pepper
2 tsp garlic powder
2 tsp paprika
2 tsp tarragon
approx. 4 tbsp of duck fat
1. In a large bowl, whisk the eggs and set aside.
2. In another bowl, thoroughly combine almond meal, salt, pepper, garlic powder, paprika and tarragon.
3. Add about 1 tbsp of duck fat to skillet over medium heat.
4. Dredge tilapia fillets in egg, then thoroughly coat with almond meal mixture. Place on the skillet and do not move the fillets until you’re ready to flip them–approx. 4 minutes. This insures a nice, crispy coating. Flip the fillets, add a small amount of duck fat to the skillet (approx. 1/2 tbsp) and cook for an additional 3 minutes or until cooked through.
Obviously, with 11 fillets to cook, I have to repeat the cooking process a couple more times since skillets only get so big… But so worth it! I served this with steamed broccoli. Huge hit with my kiddos, and my husband said this was by far the best tilapia he’s ever had so give it a try!