Oven-Fried White Fish

Feb 24th

High school kids, as a generality, hate fish. I hated fish when I was in high school. Maybe you never got over this, and you still hate fish. If this is the case, you might want to try this recipe.

Fish sticks. Are. Delicious. Trader Joe’s was giving away free samples the other day and I stayed long enough that I could get a second sample after an employee shift change. Sad, but true. Fish sticks are deep fried, however, and as a healthy eater I try to save my deep fried allotment for sweet potato fries. I’ve been wanting to try this America’s Test Kitchen recipe for a while, and I am SO glad I did.

It started with Melba Toast. Worst name ever for a totally innocuous cracker. This recipe called for Melba and in Trader Joe’s’ ever expanding repertoire of goodies, I saw that they now make Sesame Melba crackers! In the cart it went and this dinner ensued. I bought a fish called white ruffy which advertised it’s complete lack of “fishy smell” – gross. They were correct though, this fish didn’t smell like fish. White fish is REALLY REALLY good for you. Salmon is great  because it’s a fatty fish (good fat) but it’s also higher calorie. White fish is high protein (over a third of your daily need in just 4 oz) and only 80 calories! Those are shrimp-like stats, both of which blow chicken out of the water.

Anyways, you are getting the crunch of a fried fish with just a smidge of  the fat and calories. Generally fish cooks for 10 minutes per inch, turning half way through. No turning this fish since it’s elevated on the wire rack. If your fish is about two inches thick, it might need to cook for about twenty minutes. Mine was thin so 12 minutes did the job just fine. Enough chit chat but seriously, re-think your position on fish and let this recipe be your gateway (drug?).

Oven-Fried White Fish

Serves 4

America’s Test Kitchen

Nonstick Spray

1 and 1/2 lb. white fish (white or orange ruffy, tilapia, sole, trout, haddock, etc)

1 box plain Melba toast *

2 tbsp. canola oil

3 egg whites

1 tbsp. dijon mustard

1 heaping tsp. dried thyme

1/4 tsp. garlic powder

pinch cayenne pepper

Salt and Pepper

*If you have another crunchy cracker you would like to try in place of these, go for it – it would most likely work just great!

1. Preheat oven to 450. Take a baking sheet and line it with foil. Set a cooling rack in the baking sheet and spray it with cooking spray.

2. Pulse the Melba toast into coarse crumbs in food processor. Spread in a shallow bowl and mix in the canola oil.

3. In another shallow bowl, mix egg whites, mustard, thyme, garlic and cayenne.

4. Dry fish and sprinkle both sides with salt and pepper.

5. Working with one piece at a time, dip fish in egg white mixture and then in bread crumbs. Press to make sure fish is completely coated with crumbs but don’t worry about piling it on. You will likely have extra crumbs leftover. 

6. Lay the fish on the prepared wire rack and spray the tops with nonstick spray (butter flavored or regular).

7. Bake for 12-15 minutes or until crumbs turn golden and fish flakes apart. Give the fish another good shake of salt before serving.

*If you don’t want to cut into your fish to tell if it “flakes” (I know, that is a nebulous term), try pressing on it with your finger tips. It should feel much firmer than it did before going in the oven. It should also be totally white, instead of that murky whitish clear color.

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