Low carb crispy pan fried fish with avocado tartar sauce

A few weeks ago my husband and my mother-in-law went on a chartered fishing trip out in the Gulf of Mexico. They had some success bringing back some fresh snapper, grouper, and Key West grunts! 

Even though we live in Florida- literally surrounded by salt water- I don’t cook fish too often. If we get a craving, we typically will go out to a seafood restaurant to avoid having the house smell like fish for a day or two.

Lucky for us, there are tons of options in the Tampa Bay area to choose from, like one of our favorites, Ballyhoo! 

But because the husband and his mom came home with the catch-of-the-day that day, I was excited to cook what they brought home!

I fried the fish two ways that day: battered in a light cornmeal and flour coating and deep fried until golden brown and crispy, and a pan-fried version with the fish coated with a low carb “breading” made of crushed pork rinds and parmesean cheese that was so amazingly good that I just had to make it again today! 

This recipe really is a winner. The breading, although strange sounding, has this buttery, crispy, and salty flavor to it that pairs so well with a flaky white fish like mahi-mahi or even cod. Although I haven’t tried using it on other proteins, I have a feeling this would make an unbelievable fried chicken, or even a vegetable like an eggplant for eggplant parm or on zucchini for zucchini fries! And since pork rinds have no carbs, and the parmesean cheese adds very little in carb count since I am using just a tiny amount, this is the perfect recipe if you are following a low carb lifestyle or if you are trying to remain in ketosis! 

Even though I’m currently stuffed, my mouth is watering just talking about this dish and looking at the pictures! 

Go make this ASAP!

Low carb crispy pan fried fish
Serves 4
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Prep Time
20 min
Cook Time
10 min
Prep Time
20 min
Cook Time
10 min
For the breading
  1. 2 cups of plan pork rinds
  2. 1/4 cup grated parmesean cheese
For the fish
  1. 2 eggs, whisked in a bowl
  2. 3-4 filets of a fresh white fish of your choice (I used Mahi-Mahi and grouper) cut into smaller chunks
  3. olive oil and butter for frying (I use mostly oil + a pat of butter- the flavor is awesome!)
For the avocado tartar sauce
  1. 1/2 cup good mayo
  2. 1 small-medium avocado
  3. 2 tsp. capers
  4. the juice of 1/2 lemon
  5. 1 tsp. onion powder
  6. 1 tsp. garlic powder
  7. 1 tbsp. hot sauce
  8. 1/2 tsp each salt & pepper
  9. 1 tsp. anchovy paste (optional)
For the breading
  1. Place the pork rinds and the parmesean cheese into a food processor and pulse until fine (you can also use a gallon sized bag and a rolling pin). Place into a bowl and position next to the whisked eggs.
To prepare the fish
  1. Heat oil and butter in a non-stick skillet over medium high heat. Place enough oil in the pan to coat the bottom (you will be shallow frying the fish, so the oil only needs to come up to just under the fish).
  2. While the oil heats, pat down the chunks of fish with a paper towel to remove excess water.
  3. Place chunks of fish into the whisked eggs to coat completely, and then into the pork rind mixture to coat on all sides. Place into the hot oil and let it cook for 4 minutes. Flip and cook an additional 4 minutes or until golden brown on both sides. *Note: thinner fish will need 2-3 minutes on each side. My fish chunks were 2in x 2in.
  4. Serve with a dollop of avocado tartar sauce and a squeeze of lime!
To prepare the avocado tartar sauce
  1. Throw all of the ingredients into the food processor and blend until smooth. You could also use an immersion blender or just a whisk. 🙂