Frugal Family Feast: Potato-Crusted Fish Dinner

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Today’s Frugal Family Feast replaces traditional breading with a potato crust for a fried fish dinner that can feed a family of four for less than $15.

Breaded fish sometimes needs a fresh twist. This week’s Frugal Family Feast fits the bill, with a delectable potato-crusted fish dinner cooked in silky herb butter.

Chef Rey De La Osa, resident chef at Publix Aprons Cooking School, teaches classes on culinary techniques, gourmet recipes and wine pairing. He shared his technique for preparing this dish with Money Talks News founder Stacy Johnson. Watch the video and read on for the recipe.

Potato-crusted fish is succulent, savory and surprisingly easy to make at home. You start with a firm, white fish such as tilapia, snapper or orange roughy. Chef Rey used tilapia, which was on sale at his grocery store, and put this frugal feast together for $12.12. Prices around the country will vary, but this recipe easily feeds four people a fresh, nutritious meal for less than $15.

You start by seasoning the fish with salt and pepper, then marinating it in buttermilk for three to five minutes. This helps the fish stay tender and enables the potato flakes to stick to the fillets.

Chef Rey used a packet of dried potato flakes that are usually used to make mashed potatoes. You lift the fish out of the buttermilk and transfer them to the dish with the potato flakes, pressing the fish slightly to get a solid, even coating.

Next, cook the fish in a skillet with the melted herb butter. A chef’s technique to make sure the fillet stays together when you turn it is to cook one side until it’s done without moving the fish. The fish cooks to a beautiful golden brown color, and the combination of potato and herb butter gives a scrumptious, light and tasty crunch.

Herb butter is often found in the dairy section of the grocery store, or you can make your own.

Corn goes well with this fish dinner, but you can use any vegetable you have on hand. Cook the veggies ahead of time. After you cook the fish and take it out of the pan, toss the vegetables in the pan to coat them with the herbed butter.

It takes about 25 minutes from prep to table. This is a recipe you’ll use over and over.

Potato-crusted fish dinner — courtesy of Publix Aprons Cooking School


  • 1/2 cup buttermilk
  • 1/4 teaspoon salt, optional
  • 1/4 teaspoon pepper, optional
  • 1 1/4 pound tilapia fillets or some other firm, white fish
  • 12-ounce package frozen corn
  • 2-ounce package dried potato flakes (1/2 cup)
  • 3 tablespoons herb garlic butter


To prepare fish:

  • Season the fish with salt and pepper. Place fish in the buttermilk, turning to coat, and let stand three to four minutes.
  • Preheat large saute pan on medium-high three to four minutes.
  • Place potato flakes on plate; coat both sides of fish with potato flakes, pressing with fingertips to coat heavily.
  • Place 2 tablespoons herb garlic butter in the pan and then add fish; cook four minutes.
  • Place 1 tablespoon of herb butter in the pan. Turn fish with a spatula, distributing butter under the fish. Cook three more minutes or until golden and fish flakes easily.

To prepare corn:

  • Warm corn according to instructions on package.
  • After fish is cooked, add corn to pan to coat with herb butter.

To serve:

  • Place the corn on a plate or platter and arrange the fish on top.


After you try this recipe, go to our Facebook page and let us know how you like it.

Stacy Johnson

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