This quick and easy baked fish recipe is my favorite because the fish turns out moist, tender, and flavorful. Just the right amount of seasoning and the flaky fish is ready for dipping in melted butter.
Friday Night Fish Fry – Yum!
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Baked Fish – Restaurant and Tavern Favorite
Sometimes I eat it right out of the little casserole container because it is just that good!
For years I worked in a restaurant and baked fish was on the menu for Friday evenings. In Wisconsin, Fridays mean fish fry whether it is beer battered or baked, seems like it is a tradition that has been going on since I can remember. Wisconsin Friday Fish Fry comes in all varieties that are available year-round. A few places serve Northern, Walley, and Perch locally sourced. However, in most places you will find the traditional Cod or Haddock fish fry served with sides like Coleslaw, French fries, and rye bread.
What is the Best Fish to Bake?
White Fish is a great choice. White fish does not necessarily mean that the fish itself is while in color; rather, it means that the fish has a mild flavor and it cools quickly and seasons well.
For this baked fish recipe, you will want to use a flaky white fish such as haddock, cod, which are the two most popular choices. However, you could also use other if you have access to it, halibut, tilapia, bass, or snapper.
Cod versus Haddock Fish
Some restaurants make their Friday Night Fish Fry with Cod, while others use Haddock. I assume to many consumers of the fish fries; they would not know the difference between the two unless they did a side-by-side taste testing. While both cod and haddock can be used for this recipe, this can help you choose the right fish for you.
Haddock is a bit more flavorful and “fishy” compared to the mild and clean taste of the Cod. However, cod fillets are thicker and firmer than haddock. If you are going to grill or pan sear your fish, Cod would be a good choice as it would hold up a bit better. On the other hand, Haddock is great for baking and frying as they cook through quickly.
If you use this recipe for different kinds of fish, use about 10 minutes per inch of thickness until the flesh is white and flaky.
Determining When the Fish is Done Baking
The baking time on the recipe says 15-20 minutes or until the fish is flaky. You do not want to over bake the fish as it can become a little tough. Therefore, it is always a good idea to test for doneness of the fish. To test the doneness carefully pierce the thickest portion of the fish with a fork and twist slightly. If the fish flakes without resistance, it is done. If it does not, cook a few minutes longer. Additionally, when the fish is not cooked, it will have the opaque coloring and when it is done, the meat will be white.
White Fish is delicate and will break apart easily after it is baked. Therefore, minimal handling of the fish before serving is a good idea. Sometimes I bake the fish in smaller individual casserole dishes and serve the fish right in them. It is a pretty presentation and keeps the fish hot until serving, as well as, attractive and presentable.
Make Sure Your Fish is Fresh – Food Safety Tips
Fish can lose its freshness quickly.
Seems like something silly to say doesn’t it? Fish should taste like fish, right? Well, fish should still have a fresh and mild odor. It should be firm to the touch and “spring back” into place after you touch it. If you can see your fingerprint or smell a strong fish odor, the fish is old and steer clear of that fish.
I generally purchase my fish frozen in the freezer case at my local grocery store. Make sure that there are no frost or ice crystals as this can be a sign that the fish has been in the freezer a long time or it has been thawed and refrozen.
When you get home with your fish, if you are not going to prepare it right away, put it back in the freezer. If you happen to be lucky enough to have access to fresh fish, you can freeze the fish in airtight containers. Fish can be stored in the refrigerator a day or two tightly wrapped in the coldest part of the refrigerator.
Your fish will cook more evenly if it is thawed before it is cooked. When I worked in the restaurants, we would thaw the fish in water changing out the water every half hour until the fish was fully thawed. If we were not going to cook the fish right away once thawed, it went back into the refrigerator until we cooked it that day yet.
Preparing Fish for Baking; slice the fish into serving portions. Often, I will bake in individual serving casserole containers. So easy to take out of the oven and serve. No worries about the delicate fish breaking apart. Bonus, the fish stays hot longer.
Variations to Recipe
Some people like their fish with more seasoning. That is okay, my taste buds like this fish just the way the recipe is however, other people like a bit more spice. Here are a few ideas for you to add to the top of the fish before baking.
- Freshly cracked black pepper
- Cajun seasoning
- Fresh parsley flakes
- Garlic powder
- Onion powder
- Thin lemon slices
- Minced garlic
This recipe uses seasoned salt. Here is my recipe for making your own. Give it a try, delicious on this fish, steak, chicken, pork, vegetables, and much more.
Some People do not Like the “Fishy” taste of some Fish
If you have people in your family that are not big fans of fish, here are a few tips that might help them enjoy a fish meal with the rest of the family.
Soak the fish in milk. This helps absorb some of the fishiness and seems to make the fish taste a bit milder
Disguise the Fishy Flavor with spices, or a glaze, or garlic and lemon flavors
Choose mild flavored fish when cooking for this guest.
Quick and Easy Baked Fish
- 1 ¼ Pounds Fish Fillets Cod or Haddock
- 1/2 Teaspoon Seasoned Salt
- 1/2 Teaspoon Paprika
- 3 Tablespoons Butter melted
- Place fish in a greased baking dish – I generally give it alight spray with oil. Preheat the oven to 400 degrees Fahrenheit. This can all be baked in an 11 X 7 baking dish or smaller individual baking dishes.
- If the fish is frozen, thaw it. Once thawed, slice the fish into serving portions. Place them in the prepared baking dish(s). Sprinkle with the seasoned salt and paprika. Drizzle the butter over the fish. (sometimes I skip the butter before baking and use it as a butter dipping sauce after-depends on the mood for the day).
- Bake for 15-20 minutes or until the fish flakes easily with a fork.
- Serve as is of serve with melted butter.
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I hope that you liked this recipe. If you are looking for more ideas on what to make, here are a few other recipes that you may enjoy.