Panko-crusted trout nuggets

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wwltv.com

Posted on June 22, 2011 at 3:14 PM

10 speckled trout fillets cut into bite size nuggets
1 pound heavily-seasoned all purpose flour
4 whole eggs + ¾ cup whole milk
4 cups Japanese Panko Breadcrumbs
2-4 cups peanut or corn oil for frying

First, place a deep-sided 12-inch skillet or frypan on the stove top, pour in enough peanut or corn oil so that it fills the pan about a third of the way up, and crank up the fire. 

Ideally, you want to heat the oil to about 375 degrees (actually, you’ll fry at 350, but since the temperature will drop when you put in the fish nuggets, you’ll need to “overheat” the pan to start).  

Then while the oil is coming to heat, first dredge the nuggets in the seasoned flour. 

Next, dip them into the eggwash mixture.

And finally, take them out of the eggwash and roll them liberally in the Panko crumbs. 

At this point, I recommend you lay out the individual nuggets—so that they’re not touching!—on a large piece of freezer paper to allow the crumbs to adhere to the fish. 

Allow them to “rest” on the paper for at least three minutes so that the bread crumb coating doesn’t float off when it hits the hot oil.

Then, when the oil is ready, ease the nuggets into the pan one at a time, but don’t overcrowd them—give them room to fry. 

At the correct temperature, if the fish is fried for about 2 to 3 minutes, the nuggets will come out perfect every time—tender-flaky on the inside and brown and crusty on the outside. 

Oh—and they will turn out almost totally greaseless.

When they’re done, all that’s left is to place them on a wire cooling rack to drain.  Don’t use brown paper or paper towels to drain Panko crusted trout nuggets—the paper will make the coating soggy on the bottom and ruin the crunchiness.   

A personal suggestion: To indulge in the truly gourmet aspect of these nuggets, you should be standing at the stove when they come out of the fry pan and eat them piping hot right away. 

With that in mind, encourage your invited dinner guests to be close by with plate in hand once the frying starts. 

You won’t believe the difference it’ll make in the palatability of the trout pieces!

What to serve ’em with?  French fries will work and creamed mashed potatoes will do nicely, too.  But my preference is authentic German potato salad. 

That recipe is attached to this recipe so that you can whip up a bowl to accompany the crusty nuggets.  

Of course, for a little added oomph there’s nothing wrong with having an ice cold lettuce wedge laced with family-style Italian dressing and generously topped with Parmesan cheese as a second “side.” 

I guarantee you’ll get no complaints about this unique summertime meal with a gourmet twist! 

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Chef’s Notes”

1—Don’t let the coated fish set and rest for more than 10 minutes or the coating will lose it’s crunchiness and become wet and pasty.  Of course, if you don’t allow the coating to “rest” on the nuggets for at least three minutes it won’t stick to the fish and will float away when it’s placed in the oil.

2—For a spicier and crunchier coating, dip the nuggets in an eggwash made with buttermilk after dredging them in flour and before battering them in the Panko crumbs. 

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