I know it looks like I have a typo in the title of this article, but that is actually how Zatarain’s spells this product… Fish “Fri” instead of Fish “Fry”. Strange trademarked spelling aside, I saw this in the store next to the seafood case and thought I’d give it a try. So, without further ado, this is a Zatarain’s product review on their Lemon Pepper Fish Fri.
I live in the Pacific Northwest, where salmon is the most popular fish. I know it’s blasphemy, but it is not my favorite. It is a pretty fishy fish. I have had it a couple times when the flavor had been tamed down and masked a bit, but overall it is just too strong for me. Luckily salmon isn’t the only fish in the sea, or river, or lake.
Lets Get Healthy!
As part of our effort to become more healthy as we get older, we recently decided to try to add more fish to our diet. Honestly, this is something we have tried to do in the past without success, but we are trying again. The thing is we live right next to a couple fishing spots, so our goal is always to go catch dinner. Apparently, however, we suck at fishing.
Our lack of ability to fend for ourselves forces me to suck it up and go the store and buy fish…which just kills me. Because I have to do this, I almost always end up buying whatever mild tasting fish is on sale, and that is generally tilapia or swai fillets.
A few times I have sprung for tuna, swordfish, or shark steaks, because I have had them at restaurants where they were delicious. Sadly though, I have not seemed to master the cooking of these hearty fishes yet. Don’t get me wrong, I will keep trying, but I haven’t accomplished anything worth sharing so far, except possibly amusing “fails”.
With that being said, I went ahead and bought 3 Swai fish fillets and the Zatarain’s Lemon Pepper Fish Fri to get us going in our weekly fish dish endeavor.
The back of the box gives directions for frying or baking the fish. As I said, we are attempting to be a bit healthier, so I decided to bake the fillets. The instructions said to rub the fish down with oil and evenly roll the fish in the batter, covering the whole fish.
It then says to spray the shallow baking sheet with cooking oil and to spray the top of the fish with cooking oil also. The box additional says to preheat the oven to 450 and cook for 15 minutes. Me being who I am, I questioned the temp and time for these fillets. The picture on the box shows a much thicker kind of fish than the super thin fillets of Swai I had putchased, and I worried that they would over cook.
So, I looked online for how to cook Swai fillets. Everything I found said to cook them at 350 for 10-12 minutes. I thought that sounded more realistic, so I went with the latter…I was wrong.
After 11 mins the fish were still totally wet and nowhere near done, so I added another 4 mins. Still not done, added another 3 mins. Still not done. then I turned the heat up to 400 and did another 4 mins, then another 6 mins. At this point I called them done. Needless to say, I probably should have stuck to the instructions on the box.
All of that aside, the fish was finally done. It was still not a crisp outer batter by any means, but had reached edible, and we were hungry. Along with this meal I also tried something else I had never tried, smashed potatoes. I have seen them on cooking shows a couple times and they looked delicious. I thought they would go well with the fish.
Before putting the Swai in the oven I had boiled 10 small Yukon Gold potatoes and then set them aside to cool. Then when I put the Swai in I started frying the smashed potatoes, thinking I had timed everything perfectly. Of course not realizing the fish would take like 3 times longer than anticipated.
Hilariously, I had a really hard time with the potatoes. First of all, I boiled way too many. I tried to estimate how many would fit in my pan, and came up with the number of ten potatoes. This was a big miscount on my part, as I, for some reason, failed to realize that smashing the potatoes would make them much wider and therefore take up much more room in the pan…duh.
In the end, it actually turned out ok that I made extra potatoes though, because they were totally falling apart. I think maybe I over boiled them just a little. They did not look like the beautiful ones I had seen on TV, that’s for sure. I managed to get 4 decent sized mostly in tact smashed potatoes out of my original 10.
I fried them up. They came out tasty, but not really what I had imagined. I will have to keep working on that recipe. The crummy thing was though that they were done way before the fish, so they just sat there and got cold. But anyways, back to the Zatarain’s…
Zatarain’s Lemon Pepper Fish Fri
I had a hard time getting the fillets off the foil I cooked them on. I had to really work it to get them off, but I finally did it with only leaving a couple little bits stuck to the foil. Can’t say for sure, but maybe this wouldn’t have happened if I had followed the cooking directions.
Ok! Everything is done, Yay! So, we got together our plates. Some breaded baked swai fillets, a couple smashed potato crumbles, and some green beans.
The fish was actually pretty good, but it was a little bit salty. Also, it was unexpectedly somewhat spicy. That was totally fine with me, but I was worried I would be the only one who could eat it here. The box did not warn of spiciness at all. It is called Lemon Pepper Fish Fri. That does not lead me to believe there would be any heat to it all.
All in all, it was a pretty good batter, and I would use it again. We both decided it would be a really great batter if you were making fish sandwiches. Adding some bread and mayo or tarter sauce would tame down the saltiness well. We ended up using a garlic aioli that really paired well with the fish and the potatoes.
My Zatarain’s Product Review Final Thoughts
In conclusion, I would recommend giving the Zatarain’s Lemon Pepper Fish Fri a try. I do recommend following the instructions on the box though, and just keep an eye on you fillets. They may need a little more or less time, depending on their size and thickness.
Just be aware that it may be a little salty, so don’t add any seasoning to the fish at all. Also it is a little spicy (which I really liked). If you have used this product, or use it after reading this article, I would love to hear your thoughts and opinions. Please feel free to comment below. Thanks, and talk to you soon!