Pan-fried, Pecan, Coconut and Panko-crusted Rockfish with White Sauce

Pan-fried, Pecan, Coconut and Panko-crusted Rockfish with White Sauce

I grew up eating lots of seafood.  I try to cook fish, scallops, or shrimp at least once a week.  Sometimes the recipe is healthy, other times the recipes is jazzed up a bit.

This is one of those “other” times.

Pan-fried, Pecan, Coconut and Panko-crusted Rockfish with White Sauce

I like to set up my dredging station in the order I will coat the protein of choice.  It makes life simpler when you have messy fingers. 

Breading is a great way to make  fish appetizing to even the pickiest of eaters.  I mean who does not love something fried and crunchy?  You can even use the same process to bread the fish and bake it in the oven for a healthier alternative.

I have played around with all sorts of breading mixtures for fish: varPan-frying fish is a great way

I have played around with all sorts of breading mixtures for fish: italian bread crumbs, panko bread crumbs, flour, and various nut mixtures.  My favorite is a combination of nuts and panko bread crumbs.  The panko provides a great texture to contrast the tender fish and the nuts are an added bonus due to their protein-content and good fats.  I also added some dried coconut flakes I had on hand to sweeten the crust–it was a great last minute choice!  The key is to chop the nuts and coconut with a sharp knife and not use a food processor so that you still have the crunch factor.

Pan-fried, Pecan, Coconut and Panko-crusted Rockfish with White Sauce


Don’t worry if the fish gets a little darker in some areas, just move it away from the center of the pan if the heat is not evenly dispersed.

When I saw all the yummy brown bits in the pan, after removing the filets of fish I knew I could not waste those–kinda like how I would NEVER waste turkey drippings (ALWAYS make gravy people).  There is so much flavor left in the pan it’s a shame not to use it in the sauce.  An easy way to incorporate the left over oil, butter, and breading is to use add a little white wine and lemon juice to the pan.  This will loosen anything that stuck to the bottom of the pan. When I tasted the sauce, I knew it was missing sweetness and softness to cut the acidity of the alcohol and citrus.  I had an “AHA” moment, whenever in doubt add heavy cream.  You can say the rest is history.

Pan-fried, Pecan, Coconut and Panko-crusted Rockfish with White Sauce

I served my Rockfish with a brussels sprout and sweet potato hash, but the possibilities for sides are endless!  Feel free to use an alternative white fish if you cannot find Rockfish at your grocery store.  I know I will be testing this recipe on future fish purchases ;)

As always,

Bon Appeteek

Prep Time: 10 minutes
Cook Time: 15 minutes
Servings: 2

The Players: 

For the fish: 
2 Rockfish filets (1 lb total)
1/2 C all-purpose flour
2 eggs
1/4 C dried coconut flakes
1/4 C pecans
1/2 C panko bread crumbs
sea salt and cracked pepper
2 T butter
1 T extra virgin olive oil

For the White Sauce: 
1/2 C white wine (I used sauvignon blanc)
1/2 a lemon
1/2 C heavy whipping cream
1 T fresh parsley, chopped
sea salt and cracked pepper to taste

The Rules:

  1. Prepare the breading for the fish: using a sharp knife, chop the pecans and coconut until they are similar in size to the panko bread crumbs.  Then place coconut, pecans, and panko bread crumbs in a small, resealable bag and shake until well-combined.  Pour onto a plate.  On a separate plate, spread the flour.  In a bowl, beat the eggs until they are frothy.
  2. Rinse the rockfish filets with cold water and pat dry with a paper towel.  Season with salt and pepper on either side of the fish.
  3. Dredge the fish in the flour and shake off excess flour.  Then dip the fish in the eggs, making sure that all sides are covered in egg wash.  Next place fish on plate with bread crumb mixture.  Pat the fish, ensuring that the bread crumbs coat the entire surface and stick to the egg wash.  Set fish aside.
  4. Heat butter and olive oil over medium-high heat in a large frying pan (that can fit both filets).  When the pan is hot, transfer the fish to the pan.  Cook until bottom of fish has browned (~4 minutes), flip the fish over with a spatula and continue cooking until the other side has browned (additional 4 minutes).  If the fish flakes easily, when you press the tongs of a fork on one end of the filet, then the fish is cooked.  Remove filets from the pan, place on a plate lined with paper towel to absorb excess oil.  (Note: place the plate in the microwave to keep fish warm.  Do not actually microwave the fish).
  5. Turn the heat down to medium and add wine and juice of half a lemon to the pan.  Make sure to scrape the brown bits from the fish off the bottom of the pan.  Once the wine has reduced (~3 minutes), add the heavy cream, parsley, salt and pepper.  Whisk until combined.
  6. Drizzle some of the white sauce onto your serving plate, then plate a filet on top of the sauce, and spoon more sauce on top of the fish.  Serve with lemon slices.

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