Hello and Welcome to Djalali Cooks! The countdown to Easter has begun with the Lenten Season. This got me thinking about Friday fish fries. I grew up in rural Northern California and wasn’t aware of the Parish Friday Fish Fry until several years ago when I was living in St. Louis, Missouri; where every week leading up to Easter, colorful hand painted signs would dot the corners of my neighborhood announcing “Fish Fry This Friday”. So today, I want to experiment with an Air Fryer Fish Fry.
Fish and Veggies
This recipe is about as simple as it gets. I was hoping for halibut, but ended up with dover sole. I also wanted to test out some veggie fries, so we have carrots, beets, parsnips and sweet potato fries. Since this all went in a few batches, I heated my oven to 200 degrees, just to keep everything warm and crisp as I went through the batch frying in the air fryer.
I started with the fries, so I could get my fish prepped and breaded while the fries were cooking. I did the fries in a single batch. You can see they aren’t in a single layer, but they will get a shake halfway through.
Preheat the air fryer to 400 degrees, then add the fries, spray them with cooking spray and set the temp at 400 degrees and the timer for 7 minutes. When the 7 minutes is up, remove the fry basket, shake or use tongs to rotate the fries and spray with more cooking spray. Then replace the basket and set the timer for 8 minutes. While the fries are cooking, prep your dredging station with a shallow bowl of three beaten eggs, 3/4 to 1 cup of flour and about 3/4 to 1 cup fine breadcrumbs.
I have seasoned the flour with a hefty pinch each of Kosher salt, black pepper and cayenne pepper. This left-to-right set up is just like the one we did for the Chicken Katsu. Place a cooling rack in a sheet tray and set that to the right of the breadcrumbs. We will lay the dredged fillets on the rack. Pat the fish fillets dry and dredge in the flour, then the egg and then the breadcrumbs and set on the rack. Repeat with the rest of the fillets.
When the fries come out of the air fryer, transfer them to a sheet pan and sprinkle with flaky sea salt to taste. Then, put them in the warm oven until the fish is ready.
Frying the Fish
Lay breaded fish fillets in the air fryer basket in a single layer and spray with cooking spray. The timer setting will vary based on the thickness of your fish. I have very thin dover sole fillets, so I set the temperature to 390 degrees and set the timer for 4 minutes. If you have a thicker fillet, set the timer for 7 minutes.
When you go to flip the fish, test the doneness to get an idea as to how much longer they should cook for. It’s very likely you’ll want to do less time after the flip. My thin sole fillets only need 3 more minutes, just to crisp up the other side, really. Likewise, if you have thick fillets and only went for 7 minutes the first time, you might need to go 8 minutes for the second time.
You can tell the doneness by the firmness of the fish. Press the thickest part of the fish to test firmness. Flip and spray them with cooking spray. Repeat until all fillets are done. After each batch comes out, sprinkle them with flaky sea salt and place them in the warm oven with the fries until all the fish is done.
Air Fryer Fish Fry
Serve a couple fillets with the veggie fries and some lemon wedges. Top with fresh dill, if you like. Alex and I enjoyed these with some tartar sauce.
The veggie fries turned out great! They crisped up nicely. The breading on the fish is thin and even; the air fryer did a great job of crisping up the bread crumbs and the fish isn’t dried out. Dover sole is a light and mild fish; it’s a perfect blank slate for breading and frying to have on a noodle dish, in a sandwich, or just with some fries and tartar sauce with capers and fresh dill.
Thanks everyone for joining me today for a Fish Fry! My sister and I didn’t grow up going to church regularly, and we didn’t observe meatless Fridays during Lent (my Mom would make us give up candy, though). But, I really love the idea of families getting together with their fellow parishioners in their church parking lots to enjoy a fish fry on a Friday afternoon. I imagine a lot of fish fry to-go orders this year, but I do hope folks can enjoy the idea of the communal Parish Fish Fry. Give me a follow on facebook and Instagram, and I will see you here tomorrow for a very special Pizza and a Movie.
Air Fryer Fish Fry
Mild dover sole fillets get a light breading and a quick fry in the air fryer; have these as they are, with some lemon and tartar sauce, or get creative and add them to a salad, a sandwich or top your noodle dish!
- 8-10 Dover Sole Fillets
- 3 Eggs, Beaten
- 1 cup Fine Bread Crumbs
- 1 cup Flour
- Big Pinch of Kosher Salt
- Big Pinch of Black Pepper
- Big Pinch of Cayenne Pepper
- Cooking Spray
- Flaky Sea Salt, for garnish
- Fresh Dill, chopped, for garnish
- Lemon Wedges
Preheat oven to 200 degrees (to keep the fish warm while you work through batches)
Mix flour with Kosher salt, black pepper and cayenne pepper.
Prepare 3 shallow bowls with dredging ingredients: one with the seasoned flour; one with beaten eggs, and one with the breadcrumbs.
Set them up going left to right: flour, eggs, breadcrumbs and set a wire rack inside of a sheet tray on the right side.
Pat the fish fillets dry and dip in the four, shaking off the excess; then eggs, then breadcrumbs and place the breaded fish on the wire rack. Repeat with the rest of the fillets.
Preheat the air fryer to 400 degrees.
Place as many fillets as will fit in a single layer, not overlapping each other.
Spray with cooking spray and set temperature for 390 degrees, set the timer for 4 minutes.
After the 4 minutes, flip the fillets and spray with cooking spray. Check the doneness of the fish, press the center of the fillet with your finger. If the thickest part of the fish feels mostly firm, set the timer for 3 minutes. If the fish is still very soft in the center, set the timer for 4 minutes.
Transfer fish to a wire rack placed in a sheet tray and sprinkle with flaky sea salt and place in oven to keep warm while you batch fry the rest of the fillets.
To serve, sprinkle with fresh dill, and serve with lemon wedges and tartar sauce.
If you're using thicker fillets like Tilapia set your initial fry time for 7-8 minutes. If fish feels mostly firm, flip the fish, spray with cooking spray and go another 4-5 minutes. If the fillets are still very soft go another 7-8 minutes on the second side.