Friday, November 2, 2012

Baked Fish can still be Breaded.

I was remembering all the times I used to visit the Meadowbrook Farmers' Market in Leola, PA; buying fresh made country sausages, shoofly pie and cheeses.  Downstairs were the old horse stables where vendors sold antiques and used books.  Sometime in the 1990's, a fire razed the entire structure and we locals were in total shock.  The owner rebuilt, but turned it into a conference center with small shops lining one side of the parking area.  It was no longer the farmers' market, it was just another shopping center as far as we were all concerned.

Another memory of the market was buying lunch at a stall where they sold fresh fish, but also a most delicious grilled blue fish sandwich.  It was grilled in butter with a light crumb topping and I still haven't found any other place that can imitate it.  I've tried myself, but still haven't perfected it either.  However, with trial and error, I was able to come up with a baked fish recipe that, while not exactly what I remember, does hit that sweet spot of memory, if just a pinch.

While you can used store bought dried bread crumbs, with or without seasoning; grating up a stale loaf of bread gives a fresher taste. Depending on how dry the bread has become gives an idea of how fast it will toast during the baking process.

Baked Fish with Crumb Topping


6 fillets (6 oz each, 3/4 to 1 inch thick) firm fleshed white fish such as cold or haddock, skin and bones removed
Ground black pepper
5 Tbsp softened butter
1 small shallot, diced
1 ½ cups bread crumbs
½ tsp garlic powder
1 tsp crushed, dried thyme leaves*
1 tsp crushed, dried parsley*


Preheat oven to 450F; grease a 3 quart baking dish with two tablespoons of butter. Lightly sprinkle salt and black pepper on both sides of the fish; lay fish skin side down into baking dish. If fish has a thin section (tail end), fold under to give even thickness.

In a small skillet, medium-high heat, sauté shallot in remaining butter for three minutes. In a small bowl, mix together bread crumbs, garlic powder, thyme, parsley, and shallot until bread crumbs are thoroughly moistened.

Press mixture onto top of fish fillets; bake for 15-20 minutes until fish is no longer translucent and firm to touch.

Makes 6 servings.

*Options: replace with Italian herbal mixture

Mary Cokenour

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