Level up from the pedestrian fish cake, fish finger, or any other fried fish formation with these tilapia-filled croquettes. You'll combine the flaky fish with a roux of flour and green onions, then cover in panko and fry to perfection. Accompanying the croquettes is a smoky pimentón cream of paprika and sour cream and a sturdy vegetable combo of carrots and potatoes.
Peel and cut potato into 1" dice. Peel, trim, and cut carrot into 1" dice. Trim and thinly slice green onions, keeping white and green portions separate. Pat tilapia fillets dry and, on a separate cutting board, coarsely chop.
Roast the Vegetables
Toss potato and carrot on prepared baking sheet with 2 tsp. olive oil, ¼ tsp. salt, and a pinch of pepper. Spread into a single layer and roast until tender and browned, 18-24 minutes. While vegetables roast, combine sour cream and smoked paprika in a mixing bowl. Set aside.
Cook the Tilapia
Place a large non-stick pan over medium-high heat. Add 1 tsp. olive oil, tilapia, ¼ tsp salt, and a pinch of pepper to hot pan. Stir occasionally until flesh is opaque throughout and pieces reach a minimum internal temperature of 145 degrees, 5-8 minutes. Don't worry if tilapia further breaks apart in pan. Transfer tilapia to a large mixing bowl.
Make the Roux
Place a medium non-stick pan over medium-high heat. Add 1 Tbsp. olive oil and white portions of green onions, and cook until aromatic, 30-90 seconds. Stir in half the flour (reserve remaining for croquettes), then stir in milk. Continue stirring constantly until a very thick paste forms, 1-2 minutes. Transfer roux to bowl with tilapia and season with ½ tsp. salt. Stir to combine, breaking up fish into flakes. Wipe pan clean and reserve.
Form the Croquettes
Return pan used to make roux to medium heat and add canola oil. Place panko on a plate. When fish mixture is cool enough to handle, stir in remaining flour. Form fish mixture into six pucks, 2" in diameter and 1" thick. Place croquettes on plate with panko and cover entirely with panko, pressing gently to adhere.
Finish the Dish
Line a plate with paper towels. Test oil temperature by adding a pinch of batter to it. It should sizzle gently. If it browns immediately, turn heat down and let oil cool. Carefully, place croquettes in pan and cook until golden brown, 2-4 minutes per side. Transfer to towel-lined plate and season with a pinch of salt and pepper. Place vegetables on a plate and garnish with green portions of green onions. Place croquettes next to vegetables. Serve pimentón cream on the side or with croquettes.