In contrast to crispy brown breadcrumbs coating outside, the fork-tendered dory fillets were juicy and succulent inside. This entree is not the unusual dish that I'd like to rave and rant about, but the mayonnaise-based dipping sauce which flavors is perked up by lemon zest, fresh basil leaves and lemon juice. The chopped basil leaves interspersed within infuse a hint of pungent flavor which complement well with the intense citrus flavor of the lemon zest.
Step through below recipe to learn how to make deep-fried fish fillets in breadcrumbs with basil and lemon mayonnaise.
800g dory fillet, sliced into bite-sized pieces (alternatively you can use skinned plaice, lemon sole, flounder, megrim, witch sole or dab fillets)
50g plain flour
2 large eggs, beaten
30g finely grated Parmesan
1 tsp fresh red chilli pepper (cayenne pepper), chopped
Sunflower oil, for deep-frying
For the dipping sauce :
6 tbsp mayonnaise
2 tsp fresh lemon juice
1 tsp finely grated lemon zest (the rich outermost part of the rind of a lemon)
25 fresh basil leaves, finely shredded
1. Start off with grating lemon zest (the outermost part of the rind) using a grater. Before zesting, scrub the lemon with a sponge and warm water. Rinse it well and dry it with a paper towel. To zest with fine-toothed grater, just rub the lemon in one direction against the little blades and turn the lemon as you go so that you remove only the yellow part. Carefully zest the lemon leaving the pith (a white, fibrous membrane directly below the zest) on the lemon. This is due to the white pith will give a bitter undertaste.
Mix the dipping sauce ingredients together and season to taste. Cover and chill.
2. To prepare dory fillets' coating,
(i) In a plate, put the flour and set aside.
(ii) In a second shallow plate, pour in the beaten eggs.
(iii) In a third large mixing plate, mix the breadcrumbs, Parmesan, chopped red chilli pepper (cayenne pepper) and a pinch of salt, stir well.
Coat each dory fillet on both sides, one at a time, first in the flour, then the beaten eggs and finally the breadcrumbs (as below sequence, from left to right).
3. Half-fill a large, deep skillet with sunflower oil and heat up to 190C (To test it, add a cube of bread to the oil. At the right temperature, it will brown in 30 seconds).
4. Deep-fry two pieces of coated dory fillet at a time for two minutes until they turn crispy and golden. Drain on plenty of kitchen paper towels to discard excess oil.
5. Serve hot with the prepared mayonnaise-based dipping sauce and white steamed rice.
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