…and you feed him for a lifetime.
Or at least, so says the second half of that old saying.
In an effort to get more fish into our diet, I’m always looking for easy, yummy variations on fish. Inspired by my Betty Crocker Big Red Cookbook, I decided to give Oven Fried Fish a try.
I used tilapia because it’s what I had on hand, but any other medium-textured white fish (or even catfish, which has a delicate texture) would probably work just as well. I usually grab the bargain-priced three-pound bag of frozen tilapia fillets (3 pounds for $10 at WalMart). Tilapia is a lean (100 calories per 4 ounce serving) and versatile fish source. (And yes, this is farm-raised tilapia, which, apparently, has garnered bad press for not being “healthy.” However, I don’t see any alarm triggers for me when I look at the nutrition label — 100 calories per 4 ounces, 2.5 grams fat, 1 gram of which is saturated…*shrug*).
Tilapia is so versatile, I’ve prepared in it a variety of ways — and thus far, we’ve enjoyed all of them. For this recipe, you coat each fillet with Ranch dressing (I used some homemade Chipotle Ranch reduced-fat dressing I’d made, and because it was so thick, I thinned it out with some milk to the consistency of thick buttermilk) and coat it in seasoned cornmeal and bread crumbs. To vary things up, you could also coat it with a combo of salad dressing or mayonnaise (such as reduced fat Miracle Whip or Hellman’s mayo) mixed with a tasty mustard (such as Dijon or wholegrain mustard). As with most oven-fry recipes, it is key that you preheat an oiled pan for baking the food.
While this isn’t the same as fish and chips, of course, it is, most definitely, yummy — and quick and easy to fix! Hubby gave it his highest praise: “It’s a keeper!”
This smells and tastes so yummy that you’ll find yourself singing along with the Nitty Gritty Dirt Band about Fishin in the Dark 🙂 (Go on, give it a listen — it’ll brighten up your day, you know it will!)
Oven “Fried” Fish (Makes about 4 servings; easy to adjust up and down)
- Approximately 1 1/2 pounds of fish fillets (I used tilapia, but any other medium-textured fish would work, as would catfish)
- Ranch salad dressing (I used homemade reduced-fat Chipotle Ranch dressing; you could also mix together some reduced-fat salad dressing or mayo with a tasty mustard)
- Equal parts cornmeal and bread crumbs (for 1 1/2 pounds fish, you’ll want 1/2 to 2/3 cup EACH of cornmeal and bread crumbs)
- Seasonings to taste: garlic powder, onion powder, paprika, parsley, seasoned salt, and coarse ground black pepper
- Preheat oven to 400F. Pour a small amount of oil (canola or olive oil) in a dish large enough to allow the fillets to be arranged in a single layer — you want just a light coating of oil (about 1/8″ deep — not much!) on the bottom of the pan. Depending upon the size of your pan and the amount of fish, you’ll likely need no more than 2 tablespoons of oil (maybe 3).
- Place some Ranch dressing (or a mixture of salad dressing or mayo and tasty mustard) in a shallow dish.
- In a shallow dish, mix together equal parts cornmeal and bread crumbs. Season to taste.
- Dip each fillet into the dressing, then dredge in seasoned cornmeal and bread crumb mixture.
- Place fillets in a single layer in HOT baking sheet. Bake for 20 minutes.
- Refrigerate leftovers.