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Mamma Miaʻs Fish Dish - Food as Medicine

Updated on November 2, 2012

Mamma Miaʻs fish of choice these days is tilapia. She says "You can pan fry any fresh fish ths way - even chicken for Chicken Parmesan."

I am in Momʻs kitchen again. I write things down, creating a recipe . . . a black and white account too narrow for Momʻs culinary rainbow. Her patterns change every time she cooks.

"You have to stay alert . . . you have to go with how you feel," says Mom.

Mamma Miaʻs fish memories date back to her Carrie Street house on Goose Hill in Schenectedy, New York. She was five or six years old and Grandma Josephine, a devout catholic had fish on her familyʻs table every Friday.

"I never remember Mom racing off to church," says my mom regarding her momʻs faith. "but she loved Jesus and she loved going to bible study. She went with a friend we called Bible Rita. We kids only went to church on Christmas and Easter, and for our confirmations and stuff. Our father never went. Still, every Friday we had fish."

Squeezing lemon juice on fish filets enhances a fresh flavor.
Squeezing lemon juice on fish filets enhances a fresh flavor.


  • 6 fish filets
  • 2 lemons
  • 2 large eggs
  • 1 cup flour
  • 1 cup breadcrumbs
  • 1/4 tsp or to taste salt
  • 1/4 tasp or to taste pepper
  • 2 Tbsp extra virgin olive oil (EVOO)


  1. Squeeze the juice of 1 lemon over fish filets and surround with ice in dish to marinate.
  2. break eggs into bowl and mix well with fork.
  3. Put flour, bead crumbs, salt and pepper in quart size plastic bag. Shake to mix.
  4. Heat EVOO over low heat in large frying pan.
  5. Dip the two fish filets in eggs then transfer to flour bag and shake, coating the filet.
  6. Fry over medium low heat until golden brown on both sides and transfer to dish.
  7. Repeat steps 5 and 6 two times.
  8. For a colorful dish add green veggies and pasta or rice, to each dinner plate of fish. Garnish with lemon slices and parsley.
  9. Enjoy!

Cook Time

Prep time: 10 min
Cook time: 30 min
Ready in: 40 min
Yields: Serves 4-6 as a main meal

Sauté Vs Deep Fry

Mamma mia prefers pan fryng to baking when it comes to fish. She says it tastes better and I have to agree. Mom always sautés her fish filets in EVOO. To sauté means to quickly fry with a little bit of fat. This is much healthier than the breaded fish that is deep fried in who knows what kind of oil/fat, for who knows how many repetitions. Different oils have different smoke points . . . smoking oil degrades flavor and nutrition due to the production of free fatty acids and glycerol. Oil brought over itʻs smoke point creates free radicals . . . the bad guys that cause cancer.

Low acidity, EVOO, is 75% good/monounsaturated fat and has a smoke point of 405 degrees F and 207 degrees C. Mamma miaʻs fish filets are easily browned over medium heat, well below olive oilʻs smoke point. Mayo Clinic recommends regular olive oil over EVOO for frying because it has a higher smoke point. Some high acidity EVOOs could have smoke points as low as 320 degrees F and 160 degrees C. Mamma Mia uses EVOO almost exclusively . . . she is unconcerned by my research. She unscrews the cap to her bottle of Bertolli EVOO, takes a whiff, then nods in approval.

"As long as it is fresh" Mom says.

EVOO - Verdict is in.

EVOO is good for you . . . incredibly good for you if you go by recent research. A myriad of studies comparing mediterranean diets and demographics to western diets and demographics, have long shown that olive oil consumption enhances health and longevity. Uncooked EVOO has the most nutrients and antioxidants, the best way to add it to your diet is as a salad dressing - check out Mamma Miaʻs salad dressing!

Cast your vote for Fried Fish

Do you think frying in oil is a big nono?

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    • YogaKat profile image

      YogaKat 5 years ago from Oahu Hawaii

      Stessily - I love your comments. Your level 8 designation is well deserved. I will check out sunflower oil - delicacy is so important. "Stessily from Schenectedy" . . . I like it.

    • profile image

      stessily 5 years ago

      YogaKat, Another installment in this endearing series! I am appreciating this series, and I am loving the words which you use: they present such warm images. For example: "a black and white account too narrow for Momʻs culinary rainbow." Yes, I relate so well to that "culinary rainbow". And Mamma mia's words, "You have to stay alert . . . you have to go with how you feel." Her advice comes from the heart and reveals a true artist, for food preparation is more than a skill: it's an art.

      Mamma mia's recipe is similar to mine, I'm so honored to note. Lately I've been substituting sunflower oil because I appreciate its delicacy, but EVOO is superb, and I'm pleased that it's been vindicated.

      Love, love, love this series. I look forward to more. This is such a gift of love from you to Mamma mia. Thank you for sharing her!

      Appreciatively, Stessily

      P.S.: "Schenectady" has been a favorite word for me since childhood. I fell in love with its spelling and its unusually melodic sound. There were times when I wished that it was my name! (Tee hee ~~~ we're cute as kids, aren't we?) My maternal great-grandmother Eleanor lived in St Lawrence County, about 4 hours to the north, I think; I keep thinking that there's some connection which, perhaps lost to conscious memory, inheres in my genes.

    • YogaKat profile image

      YogaKat 5 years ago from Oahu Hawaii

      Thanks for commenting Mhatter99 . . . I love butter, I bet it tastes awesome fried in butter.

    • Mhatter99 profile image

      Martin Kloess 5 years ago from San Francisco

      Except for the salt and pepper this is very similar to the way I fry fish. I occasionally use butter.