Thursday, February 18, 2010

Fish in a Flash

I don't seem to slow down all day, and my lastest quest is getting meals on the table fast. This dinner delivered, taking all of 5 minutes prep time this morning before I headed out the door and then 10 minutes start to finish this evening. You could prep the fish at dinner time; I happened to have a free moment this morning, so I got it ready then. I guess it helped that I had a bag of fresh breadcrumbs in the freezer, but if you don't, use some plain panko instead.

Fresh fish is the key to any successful fish dish, I've found. I'm lucky to live in a region where fresh fish is always available (though I see plenty of frozen fish in the market as well). I have tried both (side-by-side in some instances), and frozen fish doesn't hold a candle to fresh. I'm not talking about shellfish; I'm talking about fin fish, such as cod, haddock, tilapia, sea bass and salmon. Please don't buy them frozen if you can help it. They just don't taste as good, and may very well be the reason you think you don't like fish.

Tonight's dinner featured tilapia. In the time it took to preheat the oven and roast the fish, I cooked a cup of whole wheat couscous on the stovetop and steamed a bag of spinach in the microwave. I combined both of those with some dried seasonings for our side dish, and dinner was served.

Caesar-Baked Fish
Serves 3

3 tilapia fillet -- or cod or haddock
3 tablespoons mayonnaise (I like the olive-oil mayo)
3 tablespoons fresh grated Parmesan cheese
1/2 lemon -- zested
1/2 teaspoon salt -- or to taste
dash ground black pepper
3/4 cup fresh breadcrumbs
lemon wedges to serve

Preheat oven to 450 degrees.

Place fish fillets in a greased baking dish.

Combine mayonnaise, Parmesan, lemon zest, salt and pepper. Spread over fish fillets. Top with breadcrumbs. (This step can be done hours ahead. If making ahead, cover with plastic wrap and refrigerate until ready to bake.)

Bake about 10 minutes, or until fish flakes easily and crumbs begin to brown. Serve with lemon wedges.

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