Last Updated on 15th September 2022 by Pauline Loughlin
I’m often inclined to throw fish into a frying pan to cook it up quickly for a meal, but there’s value in taking the time to prepare baked fish instead.
It’s a healthier way to prepare your fish, and you can do a lot more with it, as you’re not as limited as you would be if you were frying the fish.
I also love the texture you get from baked fish, and I want to share with you a recipe for how to make baked fish for yourself.
How to Cook Baked Fish
The recipe I’m going to give you is very basic and simple, and it’s easy to prepare. I want to keep things simple to start with for you, if you’ve never baked fish before. You can always expand on this recipe and add to it to make it more to your liking.
- 1 pound fish filets
- 3 tablespoons of melted butter
- 1 teaspoon of salt
- 1 teaspoon of pepper
- Preheat your oven to 400 degrees Fahrenheit.
- Prepare a baking dish by greasing it. An 11 by 7-inch baking dish is ideal for the amount of fish filets you will be cooking, but you can work with about any size of baking dish.
- Place the fish into your baking dish and sprinkle with black pepper and salt, and drizzle with butter.
- Cover the pan with aluminum foil and bake the fish for about 15 to 20 minutes. At that point, the fish should flake easily when you prod it with a fork.
There are a number of fish that work well with this recipe, including most flaky whitefish, like cod, grouper, tilapia, catfish, bass, halibut, and snapper. Whitefish is a type of fish that seasons well and cooks fairly quickly because it’s not very dense. It doesn’t actually look white on the inside or outside, necessarily, although it could.
When the fish is done cooking, it should be a golden brown color on the outside. If it’s not cooked all the way through and doesn’t flake easily, it may need to cook for longer. This kind of fish cooks very quickly, if you are using fish filets of one of the types of fish I mentioned. So, it should not need to flip over while cooking.
What Goes with Baked Fish?
There are all sorts of sides you could serve with your baked fish, and I want to share with you a few of my favorite suggestions.
What goes good with baked fish that won’t overwhelm the flavor of the fish? I recommend a starchy food, like a crusty garlic bread, a light pasta, or a rice pilaf. Try some roasted or boiled potatoes as well to help fill out your meal and make it more filling.
What to serve with baked fish to add some texture to your meal and ensure that there is a variety of texture in what you’re serving? Try corn on the cob or other boiled vegetables. If your fish is really flavorful or well seasoned, you may want your vegetables to be simple. It can be to your advantage to prepare them with a little salt and butter alone rather than adding additional seasonings.
What sides go with baked fish when you want additional protein? Try beans or other legumes, if you’re looking to make a protein-rich meal. You could also add eggs to the meal, like deviled eggs or hard boiled eggs for extra protein.
How to Reheat Baked Fish
If you made more fish than you can eat in a single setting, your baked fish can be stored in the fridge. It should be okay there for a couple days, but what do you do when you need to reheat it? For the best texture and flavor and to preserve the nutrients, it’s best to reheat the fish in the oven. Just turn the oven to 350 degrees Fahrenheit and warm up the fish for three to five minutes to heat it all the way through.
Alternatively, you can warm it in the microwave or in a frying pan on the stove in about 30 seconds to a minute.
How to Make Baked Fish Crispy
Giving your baked fish a crispy outer layer isn’t achieved by burning it a little bit. You’re not looking to char your baked fish, but to get that crispy exterior, you’ll need to add some breading or something else to give it texture.
A really simple way to make crispy fish is to brush the fish with melted butter and then dip it in panko bread crumbs. You could also make your own bread crumbs by crushing crackers and patting them down on the fish after you’ve dip the fish in oil or melted butter.
Another simple way to give your baked fish a crispy texture is to brush it with butter alone. As the butter cooks, it will crisp onto the fish.
How to Season Baked Fish
The recipe I gave you already is a very simple one with very little seasoning involved. If I were to make it more complex and flavorful, I might add a little paprika, a dash of lemon pepper, or some oregano to help accentuate the flavor of the fish.
Lemon pepper does an excellent job of covering up the fishing flavor, if you’re using a fish that has a strong flavor.
When seasoning baked fish, it’s best to season it before it goes into the oven. This helps bake the flavor into the fish. You also want your seasonings and herbs to stick to the fish as it cooks.
To make that happen, you’ll want to drizzle a little oil on the fish or brush it brush it down with oil or melted butter. I prefer extra virgin olive oil, but any kind of cooking oil will do.