Crunchy Sunflower Seed Fish Fillets With Arugula and Roasted Grapes 4.000

Cynthia A. Brown

Groundwork Sep 20, 2010

Fried fish is delicious, but not an excellent choice for low-fat diets. Sunflower seeds give roasted fish a satisfying crunch and great flavor. Serving the fillets on a bed of greens lends fullness to the meal. The roasted grapes lend an unexpected punch of seasonal color.

Make extra roasted grapes to serve on top of butter pecan ice cream for dessert. One can only be good for so long!

Servings: 4
  • Freshly squeezed juice from 1 lemon (about 3 tablespoons)
  • 1 teaspoon honey
  • 1 teaspoon Dijon-style mustard
  • 1/3 cup olive oil
  • 2 cups seedless purple grapes, stemmed and rinsed
  • 1 teaspoon fresh thyme
  • 1 teaspoon grapeseed oil
  • 1/2 teaspoon kosher salt, plus more for the fish
  • 2 large egg whites
  • 1/2 cup panko (japanese-style) bread crumbs
  • 3 tablespoons sunflower seeds, toasted, plus more for optional garnish (see NOTE)
  • 1 teaspoon dried thyme
  • 4 firm-fleshed fish fillets, such as mahi-mahi, 1/2- to 3/4-inch thick (1 to 1 1/4 pounds total)
  • 4 cups arugula, washed, drained and dried
  • Freshly ground black pepper


Whisk together the lemon juice, honey, mustard and olive oil in a mixing bowl to form an emulsified vinaigrette.

Place a heavy baking sheet on the middle oven rack; preheat to 450 degrees.

Toss together the grapes, fresh thyme, grapeseed oil and salt and place on a cool baking sheet. (Put the grape mixture in the oven 2 minutes before the fish, if desired, to conserve energy.) Roast the grapes for 10 minutes or until the skin begins to blister. Pay close attention toward the end of the cooking time or you will end up with grape jam.

Use a fork to whisk the egg whites in a small bowl until slightly frothy. Combine the panko bread crumbs, sunflower seeds and dried thyme in a shallow bowl or plate.

Working with one at a time, dip the fish fillets into the egg whites, then into the sunflower seed mixture. Place the fillets on a wire rack to dry for 10 minutes.

Remove the baking sheet from the oven once the temperature has reached 450 degrees; spray it with nonstick cooking oil spray. Carefully put the fillets on the hot baking sheet. Spray the tops of the fillets lightly with nonstick cooking oil spray. Roast for 8 minutes, or until the fish is flaky.

Add the arugula to the vinaigrette and toss to coat evenly, then divide among individual plates. Top the greens with the roasted grape mixture, then place a roasted fillet on each portion. Season the fish lightly with salt and pepper to taste. Serve immediately.

NOTE: Toast the sunflower seeds in a small dry skillet over medium heat for 5 to 8 minutes until fragrant and lightly browned, stirring or shaking the skillet often to prevent burning. Cool completely.

Rate it

Recipe Source

From Smithsonian Gardens education specialist Cynthia A. Brown.

Tested by Cynthia A. Brown.

Email questions to the Food Section.

Email questions to the Food Section at