Southern Fried Tilapia

By Kathy Smith

Fried tilapia Southern Style:

1 large egg
1/3 cup of whole milk
1/2 teaspoon of salt
25 universal crackers such as Saltines
1/3 teaspoon of cayenne pepper
1/4 teaspoon of freshly ground black pepper
25 oz of fresh tilapia fillets
6 cups of vegetable oil (Do not use peanut oil because of the after taste)
2 - 3 lemons, sliced into quarters
Bottled Tartar sauce as a accompaniment

Directions For Frying:

Pre-heat the oven to 300 degrees. For the first step, mix the egg, whole milk and 1/4 tsp. of the salt in a medium sized bowl and then set to one side. In a plastic baggie, like a Ziploc, put in the Saltine crackers and then mash them up until they are finely ground into nearly a dust. These will make a great coating for the tilapia fillets.

In a big and shallow glass baking dish, pour out the Saltine crackers into the bottom of the dish. Next, sprinkle with the cayenne pepper, black pepper and 1/4 tsp. of salt and stir into the smashed up crackers.

Put 1 tilapia fillet into the egg and milk mix and permit any excess liquid to drip off of the fish and back into the mixing bowl. Then, dredge the fish in the Saltines and seasonings to coat on both sides and then put the coated fish on a platter or large plate while continuing to dredge the remaining fillets.

In a large heavy, cast iron pot, add in the oil over high heat. Once a drop of water shapes into a ball when dripped into the hot oil, it is time to cook the fish. Carefully place a fillet into the hot oil and fry until it is golden brown and cooked all the way through, three to four minutes. Take out the fried fillet with a slotted spatula and put on top of paper towels to drain for several minutes. Next, transfer the fillets from the paper towels to a clean cookie sheet or baking dish and keep the tilapia warm in the oven while you continue to fry the remaining fillets.

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