Elbow Reef Fish Bites

Serves 4

Elbow Reef Fish Bites

This recipe was inspired by a dish I enjoyed at Actually Charlie’s on a drive to the Florida Keys. While Charlie’s were deep fried, here they are oven baked but still achieve incredible crispiness. I prefer to serve these as Charlie did; as an appetizer since to ease your guests’ hunger pangs while your entrée is cooking.  However, the recipe could easily be doubled or tripled and served as an entrée.

For the fish, Halibut is the fish of choice but cod works equally well. Whatever fish is used, make sure it is firm and white fleshed to provide both a solid base and fresh flavor.

Using panko crumbs rather than regular bread crumbs gives the bites the desired crunchy outside without the need for a deep fryer. Adding just a bit of Old Bay Seasoning to the flour provides the hint of heat necessary for incredible flavor.  Use a milk bath only after the flouring rather than a milk and egg bath.  It keeps the panko bread crumbs crispy.

While the fish bites easily stand alone, serving a fresh corn relish along side adds flavor complexity to each bite.

1 pound halibut, cod or other white fish fillets
1 c flour
½ t Old Bay Seasoning
¼ t salt
1/8 t black pepper
1 c milk
2 c panko bread crumbs

Fresh Corn Relish

Flavor Tiers 1

Heat oven to 450°. Place fish fillets on paper towels and pat dry. Cut into 1 inch chunks.

Flavor Tiers 2

Mix flour, seasoning, salt and pepper in a small bowl. Pour milk into a separate small bowl. Place panko bread crumbs in third bowl. Dredge fish chunks in flour mix, dunk in milk and coat thoroughly with bread crumbs.

Flavor Tiers 3

Cover baking sheet with foil. Spray with cooking oil or olive oil. Place fish chunks on baking sheet. Spray fish with cooking oil or olive oil. Place in oven.

Flavor Tiers 4

Bake fish for 10 minutes. Turn fish chunks over and bake an additional 5-7 minutes until crispy.

Flavor Tiers 5

Serve immediately either plain or with Fresh Corn Relish.