RECIPE: Secrets to no-mess breaded fish in a flash

Crisp, crunchy, breadcrumb-coated baked fish is an easy way to get seafood on the table. There’s no need to worry about breaking up the fish as it sears, and there’s little need to worry about overcooking it in the relatively gentle heat of the oven. The method works with any thick white fish, such as halibut or cod, and the fillets cook through in as little as 15 minutes.

The secrets to perfecting it? First, use the right “glue.” If you’ve got the time and patience, a traditional breading (flour, egg and breadcrumbs) will work, but a far less messy and time-consuming binder is mayonnaise. It brings a bit of richness to the fish and spreads onto the fillets with a spatula so you can keep your hands clean. Second, season everything. Mix the mayonnaise with a little lemon zest, lemon juice and pepper to boost its flavor. To season the breadcrumbs, stir in a generous tablespoon of fragrant herbes de Provence and fruity extra-virgin olive oil to complement the mild flavor of the fish. The seasoned crumbs stick perfectly onto the mayonnaise-slicked fish.

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All that’s left is to pop it in the oven and bake. The foolproof way to know whether the fish is finished is to use an instant-read digital thermometer (the temperature should register between 135 and 140 degrees), but if you don’t have one, simply give the fish a nudge with a fork — it’ll flake when it’s finished.

Credit: Chris Hunt

Credit: Chris Hunt