Prep Time: 20 minutes
Cook Time: 15 minutes
Total Time: 35 minutes
- 1 lb cod or halibut cheeks
- 1 cup fine or medium-grind cornmeal
- 1 t. powdered cayenne
- 1 T. black pepper
- 1 cup olive oil (not the good stuff)
- 1-3 chopped garlic cloves
- 1 cup basil leaves, loosely packed
- 1 T. mustard
- Oil for frying
Make the sauce. In a food processor, add a pinch of salt, the basil, garlic and mustard. Buzz until well mixed, then begin adding the olive oil in a slow drizzle to complete the sauce. The mustard will help keep it from breaking, but if it does, no big deal: Simply stir it vigorously right before you serve.
Mix the cornmeal with the cayenne and the black pepper.
Heat a heavy skillet and enough oil -- I like canola oil for frying -- to come up the sides of the pan about a 1/4 inch. Do this over medium-high heat.
Salt the cod or halibut cheeks well, then dredge in the cornmeal. Shake off any excess and fry in the oil. Do not crowd them; cook in batches if you need to. Put the cooked cheeks on a plate with a paper towel on it in a warm oven.
You will need about 3-4 minutes per side on these -- you are looking for that golden brown. Turn down the heat to medium if they are cooking too fast.
Serve with the dipping sauce on the side. As for a drink, I like to have a beer with this...or better yet, a glass of champagne, prosecco or other sparkling white wine.