Batter Licker

May 16, 2012

baked plantain and coconut crusted fish

I teased you last week with super easy and snackable baked plantain chips, mentioning that they were also great for coating fish and promising to provide a recipe soon. And here I am, following through on that.

This plantain and coconut crusted fish recipe was inspired by something similar devised by another cook on my team during last month’s Top Chef competition. But I wasn’t remotely involved in helping prepare the fish that night, so I scraped together this similar recipe based mostly on flavor memories. The resulting fish is very moist (thanks to the coconut milk), slightly coconutty, and has a flavorful crisp crust.

Start by baking plantain chips. Don’t eat half the batch if you find them irresistibly snack-worthy, as I did, or else you’ll have to make a second batch. Or you can pick up plantain chips at a store, if you can find them. Sweet potato chips would work well too.

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Homemade or not, the chips will need to be crushed up and mixed with coconut flakes.

Then start the process of seasoning, coconut milk-dipping, and plantain-coconut crusting the beautiful fish fillets.

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Bake them up until the tail end of the fish starts getting flaky, and broil for a few minutes to crisp up the crust. Then feast your eyes – and your mouth – on this fishy dish!

Baked Plantain and Coconut Crusted Fish
Serves 4 with side dishes (Asparagus with Lime-Coconut Milk Hollandaise and/or Plantain Fritters)

4 white fish fillets (about 3/4 lb.; I’ve used sole, tilapia and cod)
1/2 c. Plantain Chip crumbs (pulsed to bread crumb consistency in food processor)
1/2 c. plus 1/4 c. finely shredded, unsweetened coconut, divided
1/4 c. coconut flour (or all purpose flour)
1 tsp. salt
1 tsp. chili powder
1/2 t. pepper
1/2 tsp. garlic powder
4 oz. coconut milk (1/3 of a can)

Preheat oven to 400F.

Set up the fish-crusting station with three shallow bowls. Fill the first one with 1/4 c. coconut, flour, salt, chili powder, pepper, and garlic powder (mixed up); the second one with coconut milk; and the third one with 1/2 c. coconut and 1/2 c. ground Plantain Chips. Coat all sides of a fish fillet with the coconut-flour mix, then dip in coconut milk, and thoroughly coat with coconut-plantain crumbs to create the crust (firmly press the crumbs into the fish if needed). Set aside on a parchment paper-lined baking sheet, and repeat for remaining fillets. Do ahead: fish can be prepared up to this point, and stored in the refrigerator, covered with plastic wrap, 8 or so hours in advance of baking.

Bake until fillets begin to get flaky at the tail end and crust starts to turn golden, about 7 minutes. If crust is not sufficiently browned or crispy by then (mine wasn’t), turn oven to broil, and cook for 1 to 2 minutes until golden brown and crispy. Serve hot, perhaps with sides of Asparagus with Lime-Coconut Milk Hollandaise and/or Plantain Fritters (recipe coming soon).

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