The crust of golden potato tendrils gives this dish a restaurant look. Serve over salad or with a side of seasonal vegetables.
1-1/2 cups all-purpose flour
1 tbsp baking powder
1/4 tsp salt
1 cup water
2 egg whites, fork beaten
3 red potatoes, peeled and coarsely grated
6-1/2 lb. fillets of moderately firm fish, such as haddock, tilapia, grouper, orange roughy or sea bass (buy lengthwise fillets, not fish steaks)
Lemon pepper to taste
Salt to taste
Vegetable oil for frying
Step 1: Preheat oven to 450ºF.
Step 2: Cut off ends of lemons and discard. Thinly slice each lemon.
Step 3: Cut six rectangles of parchment paper the size of fish fillets. Lay on an ungreased baking sheet.
Step 4: Cover each piece of parchment with lemon slices. Set baking sheet aside.
Step 5: In a bowl, mix together flour, baking powder, salt, water and egg whites into a smooth batter. Set aside.
Step 6: Coarsely grate potatoes.
Step 7: Sprinkle one side of each fillet with lemon pepper and salt. Dip the same side of each fillet into the batter, then dip in grated potato. Gently pat on extra grated potato to completely cover batter with potato. For best effect, be sure potato tendrils are stuck to batter but curl up loosely.
Step 8: Heat enough oil in large, heavy pot (about 2" deep) to 375ºF to deep fry the potato-crusted fish. To test oil temperature, fry a teaspoonful of grated potato. It should turn golden and crispy in about 2 minutes.
Step 9: Lower the fillets, crust up, into hot oil and cook until potato turns golden and crispy. Alternatively, pan-fry fillets in a skillet instead of deep frying (this method will yield a flatter potato crust). Heat a generous amount of vegetable oil (about 1/8" deep) in a non-stick pan on medium heat. Fry fillets potato-side down until potato is crispy and golden.
Step 10: Place each fillet, crust up on beds of lemon slices. Bake for 5 minutes per inch of thickness or until fish is opaque and flakes with a fork.
Step 11: Dust with additional lemon pepper. Transfer each piece of fish, with lemon slices, to a dinner plate. Serve immediately.