Every Sunday I plan our meals for the week and go to the grocery. My dad did this growing up and posted the week’s menu on the fridge. We always knew what was for dinner and I can only imagine how much simpler it made his life while working full-time with two kids. When someone asks for advice on cooking my first suggestion is always to plan meals and shop for them. You are much, much more likely to cook at home during the week if you know what you’re having and already have the ingredients on hand.
It always takes me a while to menu plan because I’m pretty indecisive. This week was especially challenging for some reason. Part of my process is to see what’s on sale at the store. I saw this week that flounder fillets were on sale and I remembered this recipe for Crispy Oven Fried Fish from Cook’s Illustrated (note, you must have a subscription to view recipe). There was a bit of a bump in the road when I got to the store and the flounder fillets were cut paper thin. I thought this would turn out better with a thicker fillet so I switched to cod instead.
The fish had a great flavor. Making your own bread crumbs really enhances the crispiness and the addition of shallots and parsley take it up a notch. This would be a quick weeknight meal if you made your breadcrumbs ahead of time. I thought it would be fun to do a healthy spin on fish and chips so I decided to serve this with roasted potatoes.
Crispy Oven Fried Fish
(Recipe source Cook’s Illustrated)
4 large slices white sandwich bread , torn into 1-inch pieces
2 tablespoons unsalted butter , melted
2 tablespoons fresh parsley, minced
1 small shallot , minced (about 2 tablespoons)
1/4 cup plus 5 tablespoons all-purpose flour
2 large eggs
3 tablespoons mayonnaise
1/2 teaspoon paprika
1/4 teaspoon cayenne pepper (optional)
1 1/4 pounds skinless cod, haddock or other thick white fish fillet (1 to 1 1/2 inches thick), cut into 4 pieces
Preheat oven to 350 degrees.
Pulse bread, melted butter, salt and pepper in a food processor until bread is coarsely ground. Transfer to rimmed baking sheet and bake until deep golden brown and dry, about 15 minutes. Stir twice during baking time. Cool crumbs to room temperature and transfer to a pie plate or medium sized bowl. Toss with parsley and shallot.
Increase oven temperature to 425 degrees.
Place 1/4 cup flour in a second plate. In a third plate, whisk eggs, mayonnaise, paprika, cayenne pepper (if using), and 1/4 teaspoon black pepper until combined. Whisk in remaining 5 tablespoons flour until smooth.
Spray a wire rack with cooking spray and place in rimmed baking sheet. Rinse fish and pat dry. Season with salt and pepper. Dredge 1 fillet in flour and shake off excess. Coat with egg mixture and then dredge in bread crumb mixture. Gently press crumbs so they adhere to fish. Transfer to wire rack and repeat with remaining fish.
Bake fish for about 15-20 minutes, or until instant-read thermometer inserted into centers of fillets registers 140 degrees. Carefully transfer to plates and serve with lemon wedges.
Yield: 4 servings