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Crispy Almond-Crusted Tilapia Fillets with Spicy Stir Fried Vegetables

Almond Crusted Tilapia

The combination of almond flour and corn starch makes a crispy coating on these Tilapia Fillets that is gluten-free.

Almond Crusted Tilapia

Ingredients

  • 3 tablespoon grapeseed oil
  • 1 tablespoon toasted sesame oil
  • 1 tablespoon minced fresh ginger
  • 1 tablespoon minced shallot
  • 1 teaspoon sugar
  • 1 tablespoon soy sauce
  • 1 teaspoon asian fish sauce
  • 1 teaspoon rice vinegar
  • 1 tablespoon thai red chili paste
  • ¼ cup orange juice
  • ¼ cup fresh squeezed lime juice
  • ½ cup chopped cilantro leaves
  • 1 cup chilled buttermilk
  • 1 teaspoon kosher salt, plus more for seasoning as needed
  • 1 teaspoon freshly cracked black pepper, plus more for seasoning fish
  • ½ cup corn starch
  • ½ cup almond flour (or other ground nut flour)
  • 4 (4 ounce) tilapia fillets
  • 2 cup or as needed for frying
  • 1 tablespoon vegetable oil
  • 1 cup ulienned peeled carrots
  • 1 cup julienned snow peas
  • 10 scallions thinly sliced on the diagonal (white, light green and some dark green parts)
  • 1 cup julienned napa cabbage
  • 1 tablespoon minced fresno chilies (or red jalepeño)
  • 4 lemon wedges

Directions

Make the sauce: Pour grape seed and sesame oil in a small sauce pot set over low heat. Add ginger and shallot and stir to sweat the shallot, about 1 to 2 minutes. Add sugar. Turn off the heat and add soy sauce, fish sauce, Thai red chili paste, rice wine vinegar, orange juice and lime juice. Stir to mix.

Let the sauce steep for at least 30 minutes at room temperature. The sauce will develop in flavor the longer it sits. If you plan to make it ahead store it in the refrigerator up to 2 days. Before serving allow the sauce to come to room temperature then add chopped cilantro, whisking ingredients together until emulsified.

Fry the fish: Season both sides of the fillets with salt and pepper.

Place the buttermilk in a container that is large enough to fit the 4 pieces of fish. Stir in 1 teaspoon each salt and pepper. Place tilapia fillets in buttermilk, coating them all around. Leave to marinate for 15–20 minutes, but note that the acid in the buttermilk will start cooking the fish if left too long.

Meanwhile, whisk the cornstarch and almond flour together on a rimmed plate or shallow bowl. Remove the fillets from the buttermilk, one at a time, letting the excess buttermilk drip off and placing them in the almond flour mixture. Coat fillets well on all sides by flipping them in the mixture several times. Move to a rack.

Heat a large heavy-bottomed cast iron skillet or non-stick sauté pan over medium-high heat and add the oil. Make sure there is enough oil to cover the bottom of the pan by about ¼ inch. Let the oil get quite hot, it should be shimmering and almost smoking, add the fillets and cook until golden brown and crisp, about 2–3 minutes. Gently turn fish over and cook another 2–3 minutes. Move the fillets to a rack to drain.

Make the vegetables: Heat a large sauté pan or wok over medium-high heat and add about 1 tablespoon vegetable oil to thinly coat the bottom. Add the julienned carrot and cook until the carrots start to soften, about 1 ½ to 2 minutes. Add the julienned snow peas and sauté with the carrots for another 2 minutes, stirring frequently. Next, add the sliced scallions and the Napa cabbage, followed by the minced Fresno chili and sauté for another minute. Season the vegetables with salt and pepper.

To serve, divide the cooked vegetables between 4 warm dinner plates. Center a tilapia fillet on top, then drizzle with the sauce. Serve with wedges of lemon.