Sweet Potato Crusted Fish with Cilantro-Lime Vinaigrette

tilapia, fish, sweet potatoes, cilantro

[If you’re seeing this for the second time, I apologize for the little blogging hiccup!]

Soooo. With the NFL season rapidly drawing to a close, I have to ask. Fantasy football — yay or nay? I am generally pro-fantasy football. I don’t have much direct experience with it — never been in a league, never dated anyone obsessed with it — but to me it seems like a fun, social, harmless thing. I especially like how it gives you a reason to care about/be interested in games you otherwise wouldn’t give an ish about. In fact, that’s the best part — football is fun when you have someone to cheer for!

Another thing I give a big thumbs-up to is the expansion of this “fantasy” concept to other areas of life. A few years ago, some (nerdy!) friends of mine participated in a fantasy congress league, which I found hilaaaaarious. Just like in fantasy football, you “draft” your congressmen and then get points when they introduce legislation, get mentioned in the news, and attend votes. Hilariously, you also get to calculate a “Maverick Score” based on your congressman’s willingness to cross party lines. Amazing!

I used to think fantasy congress was the best thing ever, but apparently it gets even better: Fantasy Bachelor. You heard me. Instead of drafting football players (or congressmen), you draft contestants on ABC’s The Bachelor (or Bachelorette) and get points when your chosen contestants do any number of things, like going on dates with the Bachelor/Bachelorette, crying, getting drunk, or claiming to be there “for the right reasons.” I haven’t watched the Bachelor(ette) since college, but this is the best reason I can think of to start back up.

Much like fantasy football and girly reality shows, the components of this dish — sweet potatoes, white fish, and cilantro-lime dressing — don’t seem to go together at first blush. But. THEY. DO. This was one of the best dinners I’ve made in a looooong time. It’s the perfect thing to munch on while checking your fantasy stats!

tilapia, sweet potatoes, fish, cilantro

SWEET POTATO CRUSTED FISH WITH CILANTRO-LIME VINAIGRETTE (adapted from My Life as a Mrs.)

For the Cilantro-Lime Vinaigrette:
1 cup cilantro, packed
2 medium garlic cloves
2 limes, juiced (about 1/4 cup)
2 tbsp olive oil (or more, for a mellower flavor)
1 tbsp mayonnaise or Greek yogurt
1 tsp salt
1/2 tsp pepper
crushed red pepper flakes, to taste
pinch of sugar (optional)

For the Fish:
1 pound mild flaky fish (such as tilapia, grouper, snapper, halibut, etc.)
2 medium sweet potatoes, peeled and shredded on a box grater
2 eggs
1/2 cup flour, seasoned with salt and pepper
2 tbsp canola or olive oil
mixed greens, to serve over

1. Preheat oven to 375. Combine vinaigrette ingredients in a food processor/mini chopper/blender and pulse until well combined. Taste and adjust quantities to your liking. Refrigerate until ready to use.
2. Add seasoned flour to a pie plate. In a second pie plate, whisk together eggs.
3. Heat large oven-safe skillet over medium/medium-high heat. Add enough oil to coat the skillet, and allow it to heat up. Eyeball the size/shape of each piece of fish, then add a thin layer of shredded sweet potatoes about the same size and shape of each piece of fish (I found it was easiest to do the fish in batches).
4. Quickly dredge the fish in the flour mixture, then the egg wash, then set on top of the sweet potatoes in the pan. Repeat with each piece of fish (batches in fine). Cook for about 4 minutes (allowing the fish to get a nice golden crust), and then lift fish out of pan with a spatula.
5. While holding fish with the spatula, add another thin layer of shredded sweet potatoes to the pan (again matching the size of your fish filet). Carefully flip the fish onto the new “bed” of shedded sweet potatoes. Place entire skillet into the oven and allow to finish cooking, about 4-7 minutes, depending on fish size (I don’t have an oven-safe skillet, so I cooked the fish in the pan for 3-4 minutes each side, then popped it in the oven for another 3-4 minutes on a baking sheet coated in cooking spray. You could also skip the oven part all together, cooking the fish entirely in the pan and using a meat thermometer to make sure it’s done).
6. Serve cooked fish over mixed greens and drizzle with vinaigrette.

OK, here’s the deal with this fish. One — it’s awesome. Two — the fish on its own is pretty good, and the vinaigrette on its own is pretty good, but the two combined is OUT OF THIS WORLD. Weird, right? I wasn’t expecting that. Just like I wasn’t expecting fantasy football + reality TV to be so perfect.

tilapia, fish, sweet potatoes, cilantro

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3 thoughts on “Sweet Potato Crusted Fish with Cilantro-Lime Vinaigrette

  1. Pingback: Oh What a Year It’s Been! (Top 13 Recipes of 2013) | windykitchen

  2. Have you ever made the vinaigrette with dry cilantro as opposed to fresh? If so, what are the quantities? If not, do you think it would have the same effect?

    • I’ve never tried dry cilantro, so I’m not quite sure how it would work. I wouldn’t recommend it though — since the cilantro is kindof the ‘star’ of the vinaigrette (as opposed to a background flavor), I don’t think it would turn out as well with the dried. Good luck if you do try it!

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