Portuguese-Style Marinated Fish Fillets

Portuguese-Style Marinated Fish Fillets

A family favourite in Portugal (locally called "filetes de pescada"), popular both at home and in restaurants. The secret lies in a garlic lemon milk marinade that infuses the fillets with gorgeous flavours and a melt-in-the-mouth texture before they're coated in a delicate fluffy batter of flour and egg. 

It's typically enjoyed with homemade chips or a Russian salad (simply made of boiled potato and carrot cubes with peas in a light mayonnaise dressing).

Ingredients for 4 people

To marinate the fish (2hrs minimum or overnight if frozen):

  • 4-8x 200g white fish fillets (ideally fresh but frozen works well too)
  • 4 garlic cloves, crushed
  • 1-2dl of whole milk
  • 2 lemons

To coat and cook the fish:

  • 100g flour
  • 2 eggs, beaten in a small bowl with eggs
  • Oil to shallow fry
  • 2 lemons to garnish


  1. To marinate the fillets: spread the crushed garlic (no need to remove the skin) in a large serving bowl or tupperware. Pat the fish fillets dry and season on each side with salt and freshly ground black pepper, then place them in the bowl (not stacking them on top of each other). Add the milk to cover the fillets about half way up, then drizzle with the juice of one lemon. Cut the other lemon in slides, then spread on top and around the fillets. Cover (with cling film if in a bowl or the tupperware top) and place in the fridge for at least a couple of hours if using fresh fish or overnight if using frozen fish fillets, turning the fillets half way through (or in the morning)
  2. To cook the fish once marinated, first set up your workspace to coat them (before shallow frying them). Take the fillets out of the container, draining excess marinate and place them in a clean large plate. In another plate, spread a quarter of the flour. In a third slightly deep plate, place the 2 beaten eggs
  3. In a frying pan, heat vegetable oil to medium high heat. Take one fillet with one hand and coat it on both sides in the flour, then coat it in the eggs, making sure it's covered on both sides before placing in the frying pan to shallow fry for about 4min on each side or until golden. Repeat with the other fillets one by one, coating in flour and egg before placing in the frying page (you may need to cook in batches depending on the size of your pan)
  4. Once golden on each side, place the fillets on top of a serving plate lined with kitchen paper to drain excess oil 
  5. Serve pipping hot with lemon wedges to drizzle on top of the fish. Complement with a fresh green salad for a lighter meal, or chips and rice.
  6. Enjoy!


 Filetes de pescada

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