About this dish
- Serves: 2-4
- Time: 30 minutes
- Method: oven baking
This is a simple way to make fish that doesn’t involve smelling up the whole house or covering the range with spattered oil! My mother used to make it with monkfish in a baking pan, but monkfish is hard to get on the West-coast. It works with any white, flakey fish (monkfish, catfish, red snapper, tilapia, flounder), but not so much with dense, oily fish (salmon, swordfish, mahimahi, tuna, shark).
- Any white fish (I like flounder or tilapia, but monkfish and red snapper work well) 1.5 lbs or enough for a 3/4″ layer on whatever pan you use
- seasonings salt, pepper, garlic powder, paprika – breadcrumbs (crushed well) I use Progresso “Italian seasoned”
- grating cheese (you heard me!) I used grated Locatelli, a brand of pecorino romano; you can use parmesan, but use that rather than regular romano
- handful of olives preferably green with pimento; you can use green and black, or add capers too.
- olive oil 1/4 cup or so
- a THICK baking pan glass baking pans work, as do copper or heavy steel pans (the ones with aluminum disks on the bottom)
Trim fish – remove fat, areas that are dry/discolored, etc. I tend to remove the ‘spine’ area to avoid the bones.
Coat bottom of pan with some olive oil; reserve some for drizzling on top.
Lay fish 1-2 layers deep in the pan. Try to go edge-to-edge, and don’t leave open spaces if you can help it. Try to make it all the same thickness, so it cooks evenly.
Season the fish (salt, pepper, garlic powder). Sprinkle the breadcrumbs on top, less than 1/4″thick. Sprinkle on the cheese.
Garnish with slices of olives (and capers, if you like). Dust the top with paprika (I try to make the red color NOT uniform, and not too much – it can be too spicy).
Bake at 325 F for around 20 minutes (check periodically for doneness; when the fish is opaque white and flakes with a fork it’s done. don’t overcook!).
DURING cooking: make sure to drain off any excess water. Some fish has a tendency to make “soup”; spoon it off or gather it with a baster. A *little* water is OK, as it prevents the fish from sticking, but it shouldn’t be floating in it.
At the end, if you like, just before the fish is completely cooked, turn on the broiler for about 5 minutes. This will make the top golden – careful not to burn or dry out the fish, and DO NOT DO THIS WITH GLASS OR PORCELAN BAKEWARE. Do it ONLY for all-metal pans.
Serve with sides (rice, potatoes, veggies, salad, etc.)