Cornmeal-Crusted Halibut Cheeks with Mama Lil’s Dipping Sauce
For the sauce:
- 1 cup mayonnaise
- 1/4 cup finely chopped yellow onion
- 1/4 cup Mama Lil's peppers (with oil), finely chopped
- Juice of 1/2 lemon
For the fish:
- Canola oil
- 1/2 cup rice flour (or all-purpose flour)
- 3 large eggs, beaten
- 2 cups medium-ground cornmeal
- Salt and freshly ground pepper
- 1 pound halibut cheeks (4 large or 8 small), patted dry
- Give these fried cheeks a crisp cornmeal coat (if you like them extra crunchy, double-dip in the egg and cornmeal) before plunging them into a “tartar” sauce spiked with Mama Lil’s peppers. This is also a great way to make a pound of (usually pricey) halibut feed four people.
- Regular yellow cornmeal works well for this recipe, but one with a medium grind, such as Bob’s Red Mill’s, gives the crust a great texture.
- First, make the sauce: Mix the mayonnaise, onion, peppers, and lemon juice in a bowl to blend. Set aside.
- Next, fill a large, heavy skillet with canola oil to a depth of about 1/2". Bring the oil to 350 degrees over medium-high heat.
- While the oil heats, place the flour, eggs, and cornmeal each in a separate wide, shallow bowl (or on three separate plates). Season each with salt and pepper, and stir each with a fork to blend. Dip each halibut cheek first in flour, then in the eggs, then in the cornmeal, making sure to coat the fish on both sides each time. Set the coated fish aside.
- When the oil is hot, fry the fish a few at a time, for about 2 minutes per side, until golden brown. Drain the fish briefly on a paper towel-lined plate, and serve hot, with the dipping sauce.
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