Breaded fish fillets with tomato salsa

Breaded fish fillets with tomato salsa

River Cottage Every Day
Simon Wheeler

Here’s another variation on the fried-fish-with-tomatoes theme – the tomatoes are fresh and zesty this time, the fillets in a crisp crumb coating. However, you could easily swap the sauces, around – for this and the previous recipe. As an alternative to tomatoes, you could serve the fillets with caper mayonnaise.


Quantity Ingredient
4 fish fillets
3-4 tablespoons plain flour
1 medium egg, lightly beaten
100g fine, fresh breadcrumbs, (or half fresh, half dried)
A pinch cayenne pepper or hot smoked paprika, (optional)
1 teaspoon very finely chopped thyme, (optional)
sunflower or groundnut oil, for frying
sea salt
freshly ground black pepper

For the tomato salsa:

Quantity Ingredient
500g ripe, tasty tomatoes, diced
1 shallot, very finely diced
or 1/2 small red onion, very finely diced
1-2 tablespoons tiny capers, rinsed, (optional)
A small squeeze lemon juice
2-3 tablespoons rapeseed or extra virgin olive oil
a tiny pinch sugar
a few mint or parsley leaves, finely chopped


  1. For the tomato salsa, combine the tomatoes, shallot or onion, and capers, if using, in a bowl. Whisk the lemon juice and oil together in a small jug, season well with salt and pepper and add the sugar. Add to the salsa with the chopped mint or parsley and toss lightly; set aside.
  2. If you prefer your fish skin-free, use a sharp knife – ideally a filleting knife – to slice the fillets neatly off their skin (you could ask the fishmonger to do this when you buy them).
  3. Put the flour on a plate and season it well. Pour the beaten egg into a shallow dish. Put the breadcrumbs on another plate and season them with a little salt and a pinch of cayenne or paprika, or the thyme leaves, if you like.
  4. Dip each fillet first in the seasoned flour, shaking off the excess, then in the egg until lightly coated, and finally in the seasoned breadcrumbs, patting them on so they form an even layer all over.
  5. Heat a layer of oil, 1.5–2cm deep, in a large frying pan over a medium-high heat. To test whether it is hot enough, throw in a few breadcrumbs; they should immediately ‘fizz’ and bubble vigorously in the oil.
  6. Put the crumbed fillets into the pan (you might need to cook them in 2 batches). Fry for about 3 minutes (more like 2 minutes if you’re using a flat fish), resisting the urge to move the fish until the breadcrumbs are crisp and crunchy underneath. Carefully turn the fillets over and cook for 2–3 minutes on the other side. Transfer to a plate lined with kitchen paper to drain.
  7. Serve the fish immediately, with the tomato salsa. Some good bread and a leafy salad on the side wouldn’t go amiss.
River Cottage
Hugh Fearnley-Whittingstall
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