Crunchy Panko, Black Sesame Seed Fillets

Mon. May 30, 2011 12:00 AM
by Brad Mercil

One of the things that I really enjoy about cooking is coming up with new recipes. Recently, I wanted to come up with a new fish coating recipe that used some very specific ingredients like panko bread crumbs, black sesame seeds, rice seasonings and cilantro. I also borrowed a trick that I use for frying fish.

My favorite trick for frying fish is to flavor the oil with garlic slices or fresh spices just before frying. Slice a few cloves of garlic thin and quickly fry them in the oil before frying your fish. This infuses the oil so that the fillets will absorb the flavor. Be sure to only fry the garlic slices or fresh spices for a short time as they burn easily and make the oil taste burned.

I have an old recipe for baked catfish that uses fresh bread crumbs, sesame seeds and cilantro. The coating for this recipe had some good ideas but just coating and baking the catfish didn't really do it for me. I decided to get rid of the fresh bread crumbs and use Panko bread crumbs instead. Next, I replaced the regular sesame seeds with black sesame seeds, added some whole wheat flour and tossed in a healthy amount of rice seasonings (usually found at any Asian market). Rice seasonings usually contain salt, sugar, sesame seeds, seaweed flakes and wasabi.

If you like sushi, you know that presentation is important and I wanted that same kind of presentation. The panko bread crumbs crisp up very nicely in the frying pan, the black sesame seeds and rice seasonings are really pleasing to the eye when you're looking at the fillet, and the wasabi and the cilantro add flavor to the fillet. The final touch is to squeeze some fresh lemon over the fillet just before serving to add a touch of brightness.

So let's get started......


Crunchy Panko, Black Sesame Seed Fillets



2 pounds white fish such as cod, tilapia, orange roughy or walleye

**Fillet coating**

2 cups Panko or Japanese style bread crumbs
1/2 cup white flour
1/4 cup whole wheat flour
1/4 cup black sesame seeds
1/4 cup rice seasonings with seaweed and wasabi
1/3 cup chopped fresh cilantro
2 tablespoons toasted sesame oil

2 eggs well beaten in a shallow dish
2 lemons cut into quarters


3 tablespoons canola oil
3 cloves of garlic thinly sliced


Combine all of the fillet coating ingredients in a bowl and mix thoroughly. Beat eggs in a separate shallow bowl. Rinse off fillets and pat dry with a paper towel.

Heat canola oil in a frying pan over medium high heat; quickly fry garlic to flavor the oil. Garlic slices should only be fried for 1 minute or just before they start to turn brown. If you add more oil to the pan during frying, repeat flavoring the oil with garlic slices, then continue frying fillets.

Coat both sides of the fillet with beaten egg then dredge in panko and black sesame seed coating mixture. Place coated fillet in frying pan and fry for 2-3 minutes until crisp. Turn fillet over and fry for 1 minute or until the second side is crisp. Remove fillet onto a serving dish and immediately top with freshly squeezed lemon juice.