Golden, Crispy Pan-Fried Fish with Lemon, Garlic-Sauteed Greens and Sliced Almonds

(Serves 4)


4 tilapia fillets
4 tablespoons olive oil, divided use
4 cloves garlic pressed through garlic press, divided use
1 teaspoon sea salt, divided use
¾ teaspoon paprika, divided use
¼ teaspoon plus a pinch cracked black pepper, divided use
2 teaspoons fresh lemon juice, divided use
½ teaspoon grated lemon zest
1 cup panko breadcrumbs
½ cup finely grated Parmesan cheese
• Vegetable oil for pan-frying (between ¼ - 1/3 cup)
4 cups (heaping) mustard greens, coarsely chopped and woody rib/stems removed
¼ cup toasted, sliced almonds
• Lemon slices for garnish


-Place the tilapia fillets onto a large platter; add to them 2 tablespoons of the olive oil, 2 cloves of the pressed garlic, ½ teaspoon of the sea salt, ½ teaspoon of the paprika, ¼ teaspoon of the cracked black pepper, 1 teaspoon of the lemon juice and the ½ teaspoon of lemon zest, and gently distribute these ingredients over the fillets to evenly coat each one; marinate the fillets for at least 30 minutes, up to 4 hours, depending on how full-flavored you like them (the longer the better!).

-After marinating the fillets, prepare to dredge them in the breading mixture by adding the panko breadcrumbs, the grated Parmesan cheese, ¼ teaspoon of the sea salt, the remaining ¼ teaspoon paprika and the pinch of cracked black pepper into a dish large enough to comfortably dredge the fillets in; mix the breading ingredients with a fork to blend the ingredients, and then dredge each fillet (one at a time) in the the breading mixture by gently yet firmly pressing each fillet, both sides, into the mixture; set the breaded fillets aside, and prepare the oil to fry them in.

-Set a large, non-stick skillet over medium-high heat; add in the vegetable oil, roughly 1/3 cup, and allow the oil to heat up (you can test it by dropping a small crumb of the breading into it, and if it floats, sizzles and fries, it's hot enough to fry the fish); once hot, add the fillets into the pan working in batches depending on the size of your skillet (do 2 at a time if possible, but don't overcrowd the pan); pan-fry the fillets for roughly 4 minutes for the first side, or until golden-brown in color, and then flip and fry the other side for roughly 3 minutes longer; once the fillets are fried, place them onto a paper-lined platter or large plate to drain, and set them aside keeping them warm while you prepare the mustard greens.

-To prepare the mustard greens, place a large non-stick skillet over medium heat, and add the remaining 2 tablespoons of olive oil; once the oil is hot, add in the remaining 2 cloves of pressed garlic, stirring; as soon as the garlic becomes aromatic (takes just a few seconds), turn the heat off from under the pan, add in the mustard greens, and with tongs, gently toss the greens with the garlic-oil to coat allowing the greens to gently wilt and warm up; add in the remaining ¼ teaspoon of sea salt and 1 teaspoon of lemon juice, toss, and top the crispy pan-fried tilapia fillets with equal portions of the greens; sprinkle over top about 1 tablespoon's worth of the toasted, sliced almonds, and garnish with a semi-circle wedge of lemon. Serve with rice, roasted potatoes, or any favorite accompaniment.