If you look back at the seafood recipes I've posted, you'll see that I love deep-fried fish. Whenever fresh pieces are available at the market, I don't hesitate to cook one to golden perfection, and today I found a beautiful yellowtail kingfish. I marinated it with a lot of fresh garlic, ground fennel, soy sauce, parsley and lemon juice, then transferred it into a combination of garlic powder and flour. The whole fish was pan-fried until crispy golden and placed on quenelles of smoky, spiced eggplant mash.
I accompanied the kingfish with sautéed angel hair pasta. Making this dish is effortless and doesn't require a lot of time. Enjoy the bounty of seafood that's available at your local market!
Servings: 6 servings
2 pounds yellowtail king fish
4 cloves fresh garlic, coarsely chopped
1 tablespoon garlic powder
½ teaspoon red chili powder
⅓ cup rice flour
4 tablespoons vegetable oil
1 lemon, zested and freshly squeezed
1 tablespoon salt
1 teaspoon ground fennel, toasted and freshly ground
¼ cup falt-leaf parsley, coarsely chopped
2 teaspoons Bluegrass soy sauce (see tips)
¼ teaspoon white pepper, freshly cracked
1½ cups smoky, spiced eggplant mash
Ask your fishmonger to prep the fish, leaving the fish whole but removing the head. Wash and pat dry using paper towels. Place the fish in a long, shallow dish. Season with salt, red chili powder, lemon zest, lemon juice, ground fennel, 1 tablespoon parsley, white pepper and 1 clove of crushed garlic. Make sure the spices coat the fish. Spread the soy sauce and 1 tablespoon of oil evenly in the dish. Marinate the fish for no more than 20-30 minutes.
Pat dry the fish one more time, removing as much moisture as possible. In a small bowl, combine the garlic powder, rice flour and 1 pinch chili powder. Using a fine mesh strainer, sprinkle some flour over the fish and shake off the excess flour.
In a wok, heat the oil and fry the garlic cloves until golden. Remove the fried garlic chunks and set aside. Once the oil has a nice garlic flavor, gently shake the excess flour off the fish one more time and place the fish in the oil. Jiggle the pan to make sure the fish does not stick to the bottom of the pan and is totally coated with oil. Cook over medium heat for 3-4 minutes. Season with more salt and flip the fish; pan-fry the other side for another 3 minutes until crispy, lightly browned. Jiggle the pan again. Transfer to a place lined with paper towels.
To check the "doneness", gently press the fish with your finger; it should feel springy in texture. The color of the meat should be white and opaque. If it's still clear to translucent, return to the wok.
When you're ready to serve, place 4 "quenelles" of eggplant mash in the center of a serving dish: using 2 tablespoons, gather one portion of the spicy eggplant mixture in one spoon. Scrape the loose mixture from the sides using the other spoon. Repeat between the 2 spoons until the mound is tightly packed. Slide the mound onto the dish and top with the pan-fried fish. Garnish with the reserved fried garlic and parsley.
You can find rice flour in any Asian market.
I used Bourbon Barrel brand aged bluegrass soy sauce.
Dredging the kingfish in rice flour keeps the moisture in and makes a golden outer crust. Once you add the flour, pan-sear the fish immediately for optimum crispiness.