We are a family full of fish-any-which-way lovers with one notable and vocal standout: the baby. To be fair, the little guy loves tuna, sardines, and anchovies, so I guess he qualifies as a fish lover, but when it comes to actual filets of fish, he only loves the sort that comes with a crunchy coating. Not a problem, says this mom.
A lot of folks shy away from making breaded fish at home because they think it has to be a messy affair that requires deep-frying. Not so! Our favourite home breading version is a two-step process that is nearly mess free.
- Spread mayonnaise over seasoned cod filets.
- Smack a bunch of panko crumbs on the mayo.
Tada! Really. The pro-tip here is that the mayonnaise adds flavour AND keeps the crumbs adhered to the fish. Can it get much simpler than that? No, but while that is delicious, I can make it even more exciting by stirring a little sriracha into the mayonnaise. That simple little hack adds hints of heat, garlic, and a depth of flavour that drives me wild.
The breaded filet is popped -crumb side down- into a frying pan with some melted butter just long enough to crisp and brown the top, then slid into the oven to finish cooking through.
The result is a tender, flaky filet of cod with a mildly sriracha flavoured crunchy crumb topping that even my youngest devours. What’s your favourite way to cook fish?
- Cod is a very lean fish and the mayonnaise does double duty by holding the bread crumbs to the surface AND providing moisture while it cooks. Don’t omit it!
- Don’t be tempted to save a few calories by skipping the browning of the crumb coating in butter. This is a matter of flavour and texture. If you’re absolutely unable to use butter for health reasons, you can substitute an equal amount of olive oil but don’t substitute non-stick cooking spray here. It just won’t work as well.
- The total cooking time is entirely dependent on the thickness of the cod filets you use. If your filet is under 1/2-inch in thickness it will likely only need to be baked for 10-15 minutes. If it is over 1/2-inch, it will need to be baked for closer to 15-20 minutes. If the filet is super thick (1-inch or thicker), it may take 25 minutes.
- You can test the doneness of the fish with an instant read thermometer (145°F is done on cod) or by flipping it over and seeing whether it is opaque all the way through and flakes easily with a fork. I like the thermometer for the empirical evidence that it’s done, but the fork test is absolutely legit.
- I love this served over rice, but it’s also great on quinoa or noodles or even zoodles (spiralized zucchini ‘noodles’.)