Thai Peanut Fluke

In 1984 I was in kindergarten, my dad worked at a graphic design firm at 20th and Sansom, and I would always beg my mother to take me downtown on the bus to visit my dad at work. I loved to see him, but what it really was about was the inevitable lunch out. At a restaurant. At my favorite restaurant, the only restaurant I was aware of at age 5, The Frog Commissary. To this day, Steve Poses remains one of my culinary heroes. I have never met the man but I want to personally thank him for making me aware of how good food can be. Back home, one of my mother’s regular meals was the Steve Poses recipe from his Frog Commissary cookbook for Thai Peanut Flounder. Though I would often turn my nose up when my mother made fish–she was famous for over cooking the crap out of it–I knew it was “the Frog guy’s recipe” and flounder is so mild and unassuming that this dish was a favorite of mine: crunchy, nutty, and a little spicy. Over the years I’ve tweaked the recipe and find that you can use this all purpose coating and marinade technique for most lean protein (chicken too!). As an alternative to fluke/flounder, Tilapia is pretty similar in flavor and texture but without the high price tag. Or for a splurge, if you are fancy, use Halibut, which is in season right now! Serve this with steamed rice and Chinese broccoli sauteed with sesame oil and thinly sliced garlic. Thai Peanut Fluke Prep time: 25 minutes Cooking time: 10 minutes Serves 4 people
  • 4 4-6 oz pieces of Fluke (or other white flaky fish)
  • 3-6 tbsp canola oil
For the marinade:
  • 2 tbsp soy sauce or tamari
  • 3 tbsp mirin (or sherry)
  • 1 tsp minced garlic
  • 1 tsp minced fresh ginger
  • ¼ cup canola oil
  • 1 tbsp sesame oil
  • 1 tbsp sriracha
For the coating:
  • ¾ cup AP flour
  • 2 eggs
  • 1 tbsp water
  • 1 tsp sriracha
  • ¾ cup panko bread crumbs
  • ¾ cup roasted unsalted peanuts, chopped finely
  • ½ cup sweetened shredded coconut
  • salt and pepper to taste
  • Mix all ingredients for marinade in a ziptop bag set inside of a large bowl, add in the tilapia and marinate for 30 minutes to an hour.
  • Remove from marinade and pat the fish dry with paper towels.
  • In a pie plate, mix the eggs, water, and sriracha and season with a small amount of salt and freshly ground pepper.
  • Tear two 12-15 inch pieces of parchment paper and set on the counter. On the first piece place the flour and on the second piece place the panko, peanuts, and coconut. Using the parchment as an aid, mix the panko, peanuts and coconut. This step could also be done in two pie plates but why create more dishes?
  • Start by coating the fish with the flour, then tap off any excess and place in the pie plate that has the egg mixture. Coat the fish in the egg mixture well. This is the glue that makes the coating stick.
  • Lastly coat each piece of fish in the panko mixture, pressing it thoroughly onto each piece to make it stick well.
  • In a large saute pan, heat 3 tbsp of canola oil over medium high heat for 2-3 minutes until the pan is very hot but not smoking.
  • Add 2 pieces of fish and cook 3-4 minutes on one side without moving the fish, turn fish and cook an additional 3-4 minutes.
  • Repeat step 8 with remaining fish.