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This recipe is listed in the "North American" (US Northeast-New England) and "Fish & Seafood" sections of the YaleCooks recipe collection.

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"Long Island" Inspired Pan Fried Fish:

First added: 2012-06-25; Last edited: 2012-12-04

Author: Stephen Chin-Bow (Yale College).

Background: I will convert this recipe to also use weights, when I buy an accurate digital balance.

If I remember I will take photos the next time I prepare "pan fried fish".

I once had lunch at a beach restaurant on Long Island which offers an all-you-can-eat deep-fried whitefish dish.  This recipe is healthier, because instead of deep-frying you just pan fry (or shallow fry) the fish.

This is a very tasty, but simple way to cook fish.  I have only cooked boneless whitefish fillets using this recipe, but the same recipe should work with other types of boneless fish fillets (eg. flounder, sole, tilpia, etc.).  The general concepts may work with whole fish.

Although not very "sustainable" frozen fish fillets are sold by many US supermarkets.

After you can prepare the recipe as described be creative with the spices added to the flour (cayenne pepper is a nice addition).  If you prepare this dish using freshwater fish fillets (eg. tilapia or catfish) you may want to add more salt to the "flour plus spice" mixture.

Please let me know if you have suggestions for improving this recipe!

Essential Supplies & Ingredients: (two servings)

frying pan (a cast iron pan, with a low rim, works best)

• boneless fish fillets (four narrow or two wide fillets)

• 1/4 C milk (I have only tried whole milk)

flour (for dredging)
• 1/2 tsp salt
• 1/2 tsp black pepper (optional)

• 1 egg, scrambled

bread crumbs or coarse cornmeal

• 2 T butter, unsalted (or olive oil)

• juice from 1 lemon (optional)
tartar sauce (optional)


Fish Preparation: Discard any liquid which collects as the frozen fillets defrosts (in a plastic bag or a covered pot-container).  The fillets will fit into the frying pan more easily and will be easier to flip if you cut them into narrow pieces (about 2" X 4").

Coating the Fish: There are four layers: 1) milk, 2) flour and spices, 3) egg, and 4) bread crumbs (or cornmeal).  Place the milk, flour (plus spices), scrambled egg, and bread crumbs (or cornmeal) in four low dishes.  Heat the pan over medium heat.  One at a time, place the fish fillets in the milk, coating each piece with milk.  Pick up one fillet, and coat with flour (by placing the wet fillet in the flour; flip over and repeat with second side).  Quickly coat both sides with the scrambled egg, before coating both sides with the bread crumbs (or cornmeal).  Place the prepared coated fillet on a plate.  Repeat with the remaining fillets.

Frying the Fish: Add butter or oil to the hot frying pan.  Transfer all the fillets to the frying pan (placing them along the edge first; place the last piece in the middle of the pan).  Cook the fillets for about two minutes (only an estimate) before flipping the middle fillet.  If the fillet is not as "brown" as you like wait another minute before flipping the remaining fillets.  Cook the second side for an additional two minutes.  If desired, you can flip and cook the first side again if you desire more browning.  Enjoy!

Suggested Serving Options: Squeezing a wedge of freshly sliced lemon over the cooked fish is a nice presentation.  A cole slaw salad goes very well with pan fried fish, because the mayonnaise in the cole slaw dressing has a flavor similar to "tartar sauce".

Other Options:

Assessment and Possible Improvments:

Annotated Internet Links:


Recommended Cookbooks:



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