Turn up the heat if it’s crispy fish you like to eat.
Fishing has been good this spring. Tasty filets have been the stars at backyard fish fries and on family dinner tables as springtime marches toward summer.
A platter of crispy, golden brown filets fresh out of the deep fryer are a sight to behold. We still fire up the Fry Daddy here at the shack-ri-la, but lately we’ve enjoyed more baked fish piping hot out of the oven.
We’ve enjoyed baked fish with mayo, parmesan baked fish and other dishes. A fun kitchen project this spring has been putting together a recipe for fixing fish that’s crispy like it came out of a deep-fryer, only baked in the oven.
To get started, we looked at a lot of recipes for crispy baked fish and noticed two things. The filets get rolled in breading as if they were destined for a fryer, not an oven. Also, the recipes use high heat.
We baked crispy fish with grand success using a simple cookie sheet or baking pan. Walleye, crappie and spotted bass filets all came out brown and crisp, but not Fry Daddy crisp.
More study turned up a recipe that called for using a broiler pan and broiling the filets to make them good and crispy.
The broiler pan and broiler were key to fixing the most tasty, crispy fish we’ve pulled from the oven this spring.
Read on for the recipe that rates five stars here at the shack-ri-la. Recipes are made to be tweaked and messed with, so feel free to tweak away.
Set out about 1 pound of filets. In a bowl, combine one-quarter cup milk, one teaspoon vinegar and one tablespoon of brown mustard.
In another bowl, pour in your favorite fish breading mix or whip up your own like we do here at the shack. For our breading we add to a bowl one-fourth cup cornmeal and one-fourth cup bread crumbs. Or, use all corn meal or all bread crumbs, whatever you like.
To that add a teaspoon each of salt, onion powder, paprika and thyme. Shake in a half-teaspoon of black pepper and one-fourth teaspoon of cayenne pepper. The cayenne really gives it a nice kick. We’ve found that using more overpowers the taste of the fish.
Wet each filet in the liquid, then roll it in the breading. Now it’s ready for the oven.
Use a broiler pan if you have one. A baking pan will work, but your fish won’t be as crisp. Brush a little olive oil on the top of the broiler pan and add the fish filets. Adjust an oven rack so the broiler pan is 4 inches below the broiler. This is important. Broil the fish four to five minutes per side.
That’s the ideal cooking time for thin filets like crappie and spotted bass. With thicker walleye filets, we bumped the broiling time up to six minutes per side. We’ve found that crappie filets come out the crispiest, but it’s all dee-lish.
Add a little lemon juice or malt vinegar to the cooked filets if you like. The fish is good with tartar sauce or all by itself.
In addition to the taste, there’s two beautiful things about baked fish. It’s a healthy way to cook the catch of the day and the cleanup is easy. There’s no oil to mess with and no fryer to clean.
Go catch a mess and bring on the heat.
Flip Putthoff can be reached at firstname.lastname@example.org