Those who know me well know that I enjoy cooking. They also know that I am busier than that proverbial one-legged man in the butt-kicking contest, and that I also eat out for work sometimes. So that means that I don’t always have the time to do the from-scratch meals I long to master.
Fortunately, every once in a while I get an ingredient in my paws that deserves more than the “stick it under the broiler and cook it” treatment. My husband took a surprise trip to Doris’ Market in Boca Raton, a specialty grocer with lots of good stuff inside. He came back with a good meaty filet of hogsnapper, which I’d never cooked but first had fond memories of tasting for the first time at Jupiter, Fl’s crazy delicious Food Shack. There, it was crusted in sweet potatoes and fried, which popped out a deliciously moist fish under a sweet savory crunch.
And when I looked at that little piece of fish, I knew I needed to try to recreate that experience. “Try” is key, as the Food Shack folks are genius and I’m just a pop culture writer with a fish and a dream. My goal was to try to get as close to that taste as possible, without frying it.
Ha ha ha ha bear with me.
I did a Pinterest search for recipes that were baked, and came up with a few, including this http://www.sarcasticcooking.com/2013/03/08/sweet-potato-crusted-fish-sticks/
which is obviously for fish sticks. But this and a few other recipes suggested using sweet potato chips rather than cutting and cooking the potatoes yourself, and your girl is all about the shortcuts. I figured I would follow along and make it my own, as they say on the singing programs. So here’s what I did.
1) Meet your fish: I didn’t buy it, so I didn’t know that it still had the skin on it. But it was gorgeous – a big meaty piece of thing I couldn’t wait to get my hands on. Since it was just one piece, and because I am lazy, I decided not to cut it but just cook it as is. The issue is that I had no idea exactly how much fish there was, because I kinda threw the wrapping away. And I don’t have a scale. I am sucky. Go ahead, call Ted Allen on me. I ain’t scared.
2) Release the buttermilk! Obviously, the chips have to crust themselves to the fish some kinda way, and although my usual inclination would be to flour this thing up and fry it, I wanted to go healthy. For now. So I wanted to coat it in egg and buttermilk, the preparation I found on some recipe sites, and go from there. I didn’t know how to adjust the measurements as I had no idea how much fish I had (I’m a loser) so I just used a cup of low-fat buttermilk and one egg, coating the fish.
3) When the chips are down…You might as well crunch them up. I admit to having eaten some of the chips before I started cooking so I was hopeful there were enough left to coat this thing. So I punched the bag up real good to crunch them up, and then poured them on a plate for to coat and whatnot.
4) Next I rolled the fish in the chips (fish and chips! Hahahahfunny!) and put it all in the broiler on Hi for about 25 minutes.
6) But it wasn’t what I was looking for. The crust didn’t really stick to the fish like I wanted, and when I flipped it over it fell off. Because it was a beautiful cut of fish, it was as buttery and flaky as I imagined it would be. But it wasn’t what I wanted. So…I heated up the grease.
Next time I’ll get my crust better. I would have preferred to not have had to fry it. But as my grandmother always said, there’s nothing you can’t fry.