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.
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.
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).