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Cooking with Styles: Fish Fry with Mach Pesto Aioli

Sculpin is the fish in this recipe, but any firm white fish will work; just make sure it's fresh.

SAN DIEGO —
What inspired me to do this dish was an email from Catalina Offshore Products, about some fresh Sculpin they had just got in. It's a firm white fish that has a delicate flavor and is perfect for light breading.

Sculpin is the fish in this recipe, but any firm white fish will work; just make sure it's fresh.

Point Loma Fish Fry

  • 2 pounds sculpin, or similar fish
  • Two eggs
  • 2 cups Panko breadcrumbs
  • 1/2 cup water
  • 1/2 cup flour
  • 2 teaspoons salt
  • 1/2 teaspoon granulated garlic
  • 1/2 teaspoon onion powder
  • 1 teaspoon oregano or Italian seasoning
  • 1/3 teaspoon black pepper
  • 1 1/2 cups canola oil
  • 1/2 cup mayonnaise
  • 2 tablespoons pesto

Start by rinsing the fish and then dry it with a paper towel. Combine all the dry ingredients except the flour, have that in a separate plate. Whip the eggs and water, lightly season fish with salt and pepper, dredge in flour and shake off excess, dip in egg wash and then into breadcrumbs. Gently press to get good adhesion of breadcrumbs. 

Heat 1 cup of oil to medium-high heat in a heavy skillet and cook fish for about 3-4 minutes per side until golden brown depending on thickness. Add more oil as needed. Remember the fish keeps cooking once it comes out of the pan, so try not to overcook as the fish will be dry.  

Mach Pesto Aioli

For the pesto, I like to make extra and put it in an ice tray, freeze it and then put the cubes in a bag in the freezer so I can have pesto when I need it quickly like this. Thaw 1 or 2 cubes, mix with mayonnaise and use as a sauce for the fish or on a sandwich. 

RELATED: Cooking with Styles: Pesto

  • 2 bunches fresh fasil
  • 3 clove garlic
  • 1/4 cup of pistachio's, low salt, or pine nuts
  • 1/3 cup parmesan grated cheese
  • 1 tsp zest of lemon
  • pinch of Kosher salt
  • 3 or 4 twist of fresh cracked pepper

Place 2 bunches of basil in a blender or food processor, add other ingredients and run your machine to desired texture. Taste and adjust to taste with salt and pepper.

This one is super easy, and you can spin it a lot of different ways with different greens and nuts. I like to double the batch and put what I don't use in an ice tray and freeze into cubes. That way the next time I want Pesto I don't have to go through the whole production.

The original recipe came from Guilio's in Pacific Beach. I worked there in the late 70s early 80s for 5 summers and then would move back to Park City, UT for the winters. During that time Guilio's was selected by San Diego Magazine as the #1 Italian restaurant in San Diego and #2 overall. You can still find Guilio's wonderful food in Old Town at Jack and Guilio's where his son Jack has had a restaurant for over 20 years and Guilio can still be found in the kitchen. I remain close friends with Jack and Guilio. 

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