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Panko crusted fried rockfish fillets are fried golden brown with a crisp, light crisp. Their smooth fishy flavor and their parmesan panko coating means that these rockfish fillets are sure to please the most discerning palates. Serve these fried fish fillets as a main course in fish tacos, fish sandwiches, or even fish and chips. It’s easy enough for a weeknight, but impressive enough for a date night too. Read my tips and tricks below, then try doing them yourself.
Originally featured on the blog in February 2016, the recipe was last updated in August 2019 to add a video.
There’s something so satisfying about biting into a perfectly crispy piece of fried rockfish, with a crispy coating on the outside and tender fish on the inside. Tasting not heavy or fishy, but soft and light, it satisfies even the most demanding palates.
Panko’s crust quickly browns to a light golden brown, and because magic happens in your oven instead of the stove, there’s not much mess left to clean up. The fish itself has a light, non-fishy flavor with a firm but tender texture that melts in your mouth.
Creating my perfect evening version of the fried rockfish recipe required some testing and effort. Considering this is my most popular post, I am sure you will agree that this fish recipe has solved it.
Making Rockfish With Panko Bark
Getting this recipe right took some tests and some mistakes. I found that perfecting this recipe involved not just one, but two tricks.
The first panko-style breadcrumbs make a big difference in texture. Second, the combination of a cast iron skillet and the oven changes the rules of the game. This fish cooks in about 6 to 8 minutes, making it an excellent choice for a busy Monday-Friday night.
A Little About Rockfish
For this recipe, I recommend rockfish. Here in the Pacific Northwest it is widely available. It is fairly cheap to buy and most of it is caught locally. Rockfish is a general term encompassing many different species of fish, more than 60 of which can be legally sold under the name rockfish, which tend to lurk among rocks near the ocean floor.
Depending on where you live, this fish can be called sea bass, red snapper, perch, or sea perch. While that can make buying fish confusing for many of us, let’s focus less on the name and what we’re looking for in a fish steak.
Most importantly, we are looking for a white fish, with a light flaky texture and a mild fishy flavor. Most of the rockfish fillets I find locally are less than 1 “thick at their thickest point. This leads to a quick cook time which is key to getting this crispy layer and perfectly cooked fish at the same time.
If you can’t find something labeled rockfish, check with your butcher or seafood fisherman for substitutions. When I can’t find the rockfish, I often substitute other types of white fish like cod, tilapia, catfish, or halibut.
Rockfish Rock Filling
If you’re not familiar with panko-style breadcrumbs, let me introduce you to my crisp friends. Yes, they are different from normal breadcrumbs. Panko is a Japanese-style bread crumb with larger, crispier, and lighter pieces. This means that the resulting crust is light and almost delicate in texture, which is exactly what we want.
These days, you should be able to find them in most grocery stores either with regular breadcrumbs or in the Asian food section.