Recipe du Jour: Cracker Pan-Fried Fish

dsc01473Over Christmas break, I discovered that I liked breaded tilapia. Not surprising, really. I grew up eating fish sticks like almost every other American kid, and very few things are bad when they are breaded and fried. So, I started looking for a recipe for a really good breading.

This is a good one. I hesitate to call it the only one I will use, because it relies on processed foods, but I’m hoping that I can modify it later. For now, it works really well for us. My friend Erin was eating the breading straight before we put it on the fish, and Andrew used it later for some pork chops that he had.

I did a little bit of tilapia and Erin brought a big batch of crappie (pronounced kraw-pee, at least by her). Both were delicious, with sweet potato fries on the side. Unfortunately, we were all so hungry, that I didn’t get a picture of the actual meal. The picture above is of a bento I made for lunch the following day with the leftover tilapia. It’s one of the first bento that I’ve really focused on making pretty in a long time, so I was really proud of it.

This recipe originally comes from here.


  • 1 cup oyster crackers
  • 1/3 cup Ritz crackers (a generous handful)
  • 3/4 cup parmigiano-reggiano cheese
  • 1/3 cup parsley leaves
  • 3 tablespoons chopped fresh chives
  • 2 tablespoons fresh thyme leaves
  • 1 tablespoon Old Bay seasoning
  • 1 teaspoon garlic powder or granulated garlic (optional)
  • Flour, for coating
  • 2 large eggs, beaten
  • Splash whole milk (original recipe calls for cream or half-and-half)
  • Extra-virgin olive oil (EVOO), for frying
  • 4 tilapia fillets, rinsed and patted dry
  • Salt and pepper
  • Lemon wedges, for serving


  •  Using a food processor, grind the oyster crackers, Ritz crackers, parmigiano-reggiano, parsley, chives, thyme, Old Bay seasoning and garlic powder, if using. Transfer to a shallow bowl. Place the flour in another shallow bowl. In a third shallow bowl, beat the eggs and cream.
  • Fill a large skillet with enough EVOO to reach a depth of 1/4 inch and heat over medium-high heat. Season the fish fillets with salt and pepper. Coat the fish with the flour, shaking off any excess; coat with the egg mixture, then with the cracker crumbs. Working with 2 fillets at a time, fry the fish in the skillet, turning once, until deep golden, about 5 minutes.

Notes: Do not walk away while you are frying the fish. It cooks very quickly, and you do not want to overcook it. You may also need to replenish the oil, depending on how much fish you are cooking. This made enough breading for 3 tilapia fillets, about 10 pieces of crappie, and a couple of boneless pork chops. This is good with the lemon or without, so don’t worry.