Wasabi Chickpea Crusted Fish

When I was a little girl my grandparents would take me out for dinner every Friday night.  It wasn’t just a happy meal at McDonald’s or a tacos in a hole in the wall place.  It was a supper club. Maybe you have never been to a supper club but they are a thing of legend here in the Midwest. Traditionally, a supper club was a destination, where patrons could go for the evening and not just a meal.  Cocktail hour, a slow paced sit down dinner and of course dessert all at a reasonable price. (Because here in the Midwest, we’re reasonable people). It also wasn’t a place you went to wearing jeans and a t-shirt.  My mom would pick out a dress for me wear before I went out and made sure my hair was curled and my shoes polished. I’m sure she never imagined I would remember that and be writing about it today!  Friday night at the supper club usually meant prime rib and fish fry.

I really credit some of these early experiences with teaching me to appreciate a wide variety of food as well as being very comfortable in an adult atmosphere. It never seemed strange to me to be in a nice restaurant, to sit at a table with cloth napkins, order off a menu and not bounce off the walls. When I started to create this recipe my memory went back to those early childhood experiences, and my relationship with fish.  When I ordered fish it was orange roughey and I always ordered a Shirley Temple with extra maraschino cherries. When I started to put together this recipe my memories of this childhood experience came back.  No, this was not something ever served but I wanted to create a dinner meal that was quick and easy but really indulgent. Serving this to a guest (or your spouse, parents, kids etc.) feels like you’ve spent a lot of time and energy making something special.  In reality, you can make this in about 30 minutes.


To make the glaze

  • 1/4 cup soy sauce
  • 1 1/2 tsp crushed garlic
  • 2 tsp honey
  • 1/2 tsp fresh grated ginger
  • 1/4 cup water


Wasabi Chickpea Crunching

Preheat your oven to 350F.  To begin with you need to crunch the chickpeas as finely as possible.  I didn’t give an amount to use as it will vary depending on the size of your fillets.  Take your best guess and add more if needed.  I like to do the crunching by placing the chickpeas in a plastic, sealable bag and banging with a rolling pin.  Got kids?  This is a great way for them to help out – they love it!!  At the end I roll the pin several times to break up any large remaining pieces.  Alternately you could toss this in a food processor but what’s the fun in that? Add the crumbs to a shallow bowl so that you can easily coat the fish. 

Whisk the egg in another shallow bowl.  Coat the fish first in the eggwash and then in the chickpeas.  

Crusted Tilapia

To bake the fish, lay the chickpea crusted pieces flat in a clay baking dish.  I’m saying clay here because I’ve found that the fish and breading doesn’t stick to a clay dish. It’s a piece of equipment I really suggest investing in.  The dish I used in this picture is a Le Creuset dish I picked up at TJ Maxx for $9. If you don’t have a clay baking dish you can use a metal pan but it may stick.   Once the fish is in the dish slide it into the oven and bake until the fish starts to flake.

Soy Honey Glaze

Making the Glaze. 

This is the component of the dish that brings it up a step.  It’s really easy to do.  In a bowl whisk together 1/4 cup soy sauce, 1 1/2 tsp crushed garlic, 2 tsp honey, 1/2 tsp fresh grated ginger, and 1/4 cup of water.  Pour the liquid into a small pan and turn the heat to medium.  It will start to bubble and thicken.  You may need to add a little more water if it thickens too quickly.  The final product will be a bit thinner than a jelly – like a thick sauce.  The ratios can easily be doubled if you like more sauce or have more fish.

Wasabi Chickpea Crusted Fish

Putting it Together

Once the fish has flaked remove it from the oven and allow it to cool for just a minute or two (this will help with any sticking to the pan that may be there).  I serve this fish with a really simple shredded carrot salad tossed in a dressing of balsamic vinegar mixed with a little honey.  This goes on the bottom, with the fish on top and just be serving I pour a little pit of the glaze over the top of the fish.  The chickpeas are still a bit crunchy and the texture of the carrots and soft fish are a nice contrast.  You will want to serve this right away as the fish will cool quickly.