Just because a dish is considered classic doesn't mean it can never change. Take this recipe for pan-fried fish. My mother used to make it with store-bought bread crumbs and haddock, but she switched to flounder when haddock grew scarce. Now my daughter enjoys it made with petrale sole flown in from California and Japanese panko bread crumbs.
I love the subtle changes this dish has undergone over the years. It's a tasty reminder of how a dish can be adapted to evolving tastes and market forces without losing its flavorful essence.
Makes 4 servings
1 pound fish fillets
1 teaspoon each: salt, freshly ground pepper
1/2 cup flour
2 eggs, beaten 11/2 cups panko or regular bread crumbs
3 tablespoons olive oil
Lemon wedges, tartar sauce, optional
1. Season fish with the salt and pepper. Place flour, beaten egg and bread crumbs in separate shallow containers. Heat oil in a large skillet over medium-high heat.
2. Dip each fillet in the following order: flour, beaten egg and bread crumbs. Add fillets to skillet. (Do not overcrowd.) Cook, turning once, until fillets are cooked through and golden brown, about 4-5 minutes per side. Drain on paper towels. Serve with lemon wedges and tartar sauce.
Note: Petrale sole, flounder, haddock, cod, scrod, halibut and even tilapia can be used here. Go for the freshest fish you can find. I like to use an electric frying pan for the fish because the heat can be regulated with pinpoint accuracy.