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Thursday, October 6, 2022
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    Want golden, crispy fish without deep-frying? This air fryer recipe is for you

    Ann Maloney

    THE WASHINGTON POST – I love fried foods, but it can be a messy kitchen project, especially on a weeknight, and these days I’ve relegated deep-fried foods to the occasional treat.

    Recently, Cynthia R Greenlee wrote in The Washington Post about how an air fryer reignited her cooking enthusiasm, something she was losing because of the pandemic.

    She offered insight about how she once “groused… that these miniature convection ovens aren’t fryers at all. Instead, they surround food in an El Niño of hot air, cooking with little or no oil. Baking and roasting, yes; frying, no”. But then she began experimenting and found the little countertop box was a great way to get that fried experience, but through “easier, healthier cooking with less oil and time”.

    So, when the fried fish craving hit, it followed that I’d experiment to see if I could get a satisfying piece of golden fillet from the appliance. It was easiest to get my hands on fresh cod, so I used that with the recipe below, but any white-fleshed fish will do, such as trout, flounder or even tilapia.

    I tried simply doing an egg wash and dusting of spiced flour, but I found that the resulting exteriors were just not crisp enough. I had the same result when I tried a coarser fish fry coating. Then, I tried an egg wash with just panko, but ended up with a few bald spots on the fish. Also, I missed the spice that the finer flour delivered to the fillet.

    Air-Fryer Fish Fillets. PHOTO: THE WASHINGTON POST

    What worked best for me was a three-step coating: A light coating of a well-seasoned cornstarch/flour mixture, followed by an egg wash given a flavour boost by a generous splash of hot sauce and finally a generous coating of panko. The flour mixture coated the entire fillet and added flavour, and the coarse breadcrumbs browned beautifully and came through, delivering that telltale crunch.

    AIR-FRYER FISH FILLETS

    Four to six servings

    Storage Notes: Leftover fish can be refrigerated for up to two days. For crisper fish, reheat in a preheated air fryer for two minutes or until warmed through.

    INGREDIENTS

    Four cod fillets, or other white-fleshed fish

    Quarter teaspoon table salt

    Half teaspoon plus quarter teaspoon finely ground black pepper, divided

    Quarter cup all-purpose flour

    Quarter cup cornstarch

    Half teaspoon onion powder

    Half teaspoon garlic powder

    Half teaspoon sweet paprika

    Two large eggs

    Two tablespoons water

    One tablespoon hot sauce, such as Tabasco

    Two cups panko breadcrumbs

    Cooking spray

    Lemon wedges, for serving

    DIRECTIONS

    Set the air fryer to 400 degrees and preheat for at least five minutes.

    Pat the fish dry and season both sides with salt and quarter teaspoon of the pepper. If the fillets are long, cut them in half or thirds. (Small, thinner fillets are easier to flip and turn out crispier edges.)

    Set out three shallow bowls. In one, whisk together the flour, cornstarch, onion powder, garlic powder, paprika and the remaining half teaspoon of the black pepper. In the next, whisk together the egg, water and hot sauce. In the third, put the panko.

    Working with one piece at a time, coat a fillet with the flour mixture, shaking off any excess. Then, dip it into the egg, letting the excess drip off, and finally place it in the panko, pressing the breadcrumbs into the fish on all sides. Place the fillets on a baking rack and lightly spray them on one side with cooking oil. Repeat with the remaining fillets.

    Carefully remove the air fryer basket from the preheated fryer and lightly spray it with the cooking spray. (Never spray the cooking spray directly into the fryer.) Place the fish in the basket and, working in batches to avoid crowding, cook for five minutes. Then, remove the basket, flip the fillets and spritz them with the cooking spray. Cook for another five minutes – the fish should be golden and flake easily with a fork. If not, cook an additional one minute or until cooked through. Serve the fish with lemon wedges.

    NUTRITION

    (BASED ON SIX SERVINGS)

    Calories: 266; Total Fat: 3g; Saturated Fat: 1g; Cholesterol: 111mg; Sodium: 231 g; Carbohydrates: 23g; Dietary Fibre: 1g; Sugar: 1g; Protein: 25g.

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