(with Scallion Mignonette)
We just came back from the Philippines after joining the most incredible and the best tour we have ever experienced, which is sponsored by the Philippine Embassy called the 7th Ambassadors/Consuls General and Tourism Directors Tour to the Philippines (July 11-14). Every angle of this tour was perfectly organized and maneuvered (including the best hotels, air, sea and land transportations) and there are no words to describe how wonderful this Tour was! Beyond my wildest expectations is our experience to have a personal appearance and lunch with the President at Malacanan Palace, including the tour of the Palace!
One of the most exciting portion of this Tour was the fabulous dining everywhere we went. There were always feasts of modern and native Filipino and other foreign-influenced dishes with grandeur presentation and with deluxe service… every minute detail was covered by this safe-hassle-and-worry-free Tour.
One of the many dishes both my husband and I encountered during our wonderful stay in our home country is the Flying Tilapia. This attracted me the most because of its creativity and workmanship. So, here is my version of Flying Tilapia with a "flirt" that will capture your taste and imagination. A word of advice: Don't limit yourself to deep frying, if that intimidates you–broil instead, which I have tried with just slight deviation in cooking methods.
1 medium size tilapia, scaled, gutted and cleaned
1/2 cup flour
2 tablespoons cornstarch
3/4 cup beer
Salt and pepper
2 tablespoons breadcrumbs
Vegetable oil for frying
Combine the following ingredients:
1/4 cup chopped scallions (or spring onions)
1/3 cup distilled vinegar
1 large shallots, minced
1 teaspoon finely grated ginger
Pinch cracked white pepper
1/4 teaspoon salt
Starting from the tail, filet the tilapia but leaving a little flesh on the bones, ending up to the neck and without separating the filet. Slightly season with salt.
In a large bowl, whisk both the flour and cornstarch then add the beer; whisk until smooth then season with salt and pepper. Add the tilapia to the beer mixture (batter) and turn to coat all parts of the tilapia and beneath the wings. Scrape the excess batter from the fish to even out the thin coating. Wrap the fish in a foil and leave it there for a few minutes until ready to cook.
In a large sauce pan or deep fryer, heat enough oil to 350 degrees just to cover the tilapia. Meanwhile, sprinkle all parts of the fish and beneath the wings with a little breadcrumbs. Then fry the tilapia, opening both wings with the help of a prong or fork (to make the flying look) until the light crust is just set; continue to fry until deep mahogany or golden brown and crunchy on the outside.
Drain in a wire rack for about 5 minutes; transfer to a platter and serve right away with scallion mignonette.
Chef's Tips: To facilitate preparation, when buying fresh tilapia, have it cleaned on the spot and ask for ice and secure it in a plastic.
Master Chef Evelyn: 100 Most Influential Filipina Women in the U.S., 2009, Filipina Women’s Network; MHC Most Outstanding Migrant Award in Culinary Arts, 2011; PAFC Dakila Special Achievement Award, 2011; Owner, Philippine Oriental Market & Deli, Arlington, Virginia; Founder and President of CHEW (Cancer Help Eat Well) Foundation, a 501 (c) (3) public charity formed to help and cook pro-bono for Filipino-Americans who are afflicted with cancer and other serious illnesses; Culinary writer, master baker and cake designer (kitchen-tested and mastered more than 400 recipes, and counting); Member, Les Dames d’Escoffier International, Washington DC Chapter; Member, International Cake Exploration Society, Master Chef, French Cuisine and Patisserie, Le Cordon Bleu, London, U.K.; Producer/Host of the cooking show “Evelyn’s Kitchen Cooking with Friends”