Baked Fish with Savory Bread Crumbs

Following bilateral foot surgery, I have been incredibly eager to get back in the kitchen, cooking, baking, and of course, blogging in order to share my adventures with all of you. I have been easing my way back in, and this past weekend was the first time I felt strong enough to stand in the kitchen for more than an hour to cook a meal on my own. Very exciting! Hot off an hour of resting my sore feet while watching some of my favorite chefs on PBS, I was pumped to try a delicious looking fish dish from Lidia Bastianich, one of my favorite Italian chefs.

fishplated

Motherly, worldly Lidia gets me every time with her ease of preparation in the kitchen, her masterful pairings, and her easygoing but purposeful demeanor. I have made many dishes that my husband and father have watched her prepare and immediately thereafter requested. Well, I was smitten with this one and wrote down some notes while watching the recipe live and recreated it for dinner last night. There are a few key points about this dish that I love:

  1. It is a great pantry meal. You can likely make this recipe with ingredients you have on hand and just need to grab the fresh fish the day of.
  2. It calls for plenty of garlic, as any good Lidia recipe or Italian recipe should.
  3. It features fresh lemon juice and white wine to complement the garlic, herbs, salty flavors and make everything mingle just right.
  4. It is easy to prepare and simply delicious.

Luckily for you, I found Lidia’s entire recipe on the James Beard website. Here’s how I made this delicious fish, inspired by Lidia’s flawless demonstration:

Baked Fish with Savory Bread Crumbs

Lidia Matticchio Bastianich’s “Lidia Cooks From the Heart of Italy” (Alfred A. Knopf, 2009)

Landlocked Umbria does not have a seafood cuisine. But its mountain lakes, rivers, and streams abound in freshwater fish, such as the tasty tench. This simple preparation is one I found in Umbria, and it is excellent for fillets of our sweet-water varieties, such as carp or whitefish, or even light ocean-fish fillets like sole.

Yield: Serves 6

2 lbs. whitefish fillets — I used grouper (Lidia also recommends carp or white ocean fish, such as sole or something of the sort)
3/4 tsp. kosher salt
6 tbsp. extra virgin olive oil
Juice of a large lemon (about 3 tbsp.)
1/2 c. white wine
6 plump garlic cloves, crushed and peeled
1/2 cup fine dry bread crumbs
Zest of a large lemon (about 2 tsp.)
1 tbsp. chopped fresh Italian parsley
1/2 tsp. dried oregano
1/4 tsp. peperoncino flakes, or to taste, chopped fine
Fresh lemon slices, for serving

  1. Preheat the oven to 375°F.
  2. Lightly salt the fish on both sides, using about 1/4 tsp. in all.
  3. Pour 3 tbsp. of the olive oil, the lemon juice, white wine, and another 1/4 tsp. salt into the baking dish, and whisk together well. Drop in the garlic cloves (don’t forget to smash them to bring out their flavor!), and stir with the dressing.
  4. Lay the fillets in the dish, turn and swish them in the dressing so both sides are thoroughly moistened, and arrange them, skin side down, in one layer.
  5. Toss the bread crumbs in a bowl with the lemon zest, parsley, oregano, chopped peperoncino, and the remaining 1/4 tsp. salt. Drizzle with the remaining 3 tbsp. olive oil, and toss the crumbs well until evenly moistened with oil.
  6. Spoon the seasoned bread crumbs on top of the fillets in a light, even layer. Bake, uncovered, at 375°F until the crumbs are crisp and golden and the fish is cooked through, about 15 to 20 mins.
  7. Lift the fish out with a spatula, and set on a warm platter to serve family-style, or on individual plates. Spoon it the juices left in the baking dish, and serve right away, with lemon slices on the side.

fish1

lemon_fish

And there you have it! A delicious fish dish that is sure to please a variety of tastes. My husband wiped the plate clean on this one! I served it with Fabio Viviani’s Spinach and Ricotta Cheese Dumplings, primi, (another post to follow!) with my homemade Alfredo sauce, and this was my segundi. Give both a try, together or separate!

fish_wine

One more thing — I paired the fish with a white wine from Lidia’s son’s winery in Italy, Bastianich Viticoltori Friulani. My mother-in-law picked it up for us on a recent trip to the Wegmans wine store in Rochester, N.Y. The 2008 variety of “Friulano” was an excellent match for this fish. A little research told me that Friulano is the most typical white wine in Friuli, the northeastern region of Italy, and Colli-Orientali is the area in Friuli known for its unique terroir (vineyards, land, soil, terrain, etc.). The wine is medium-bodied, featuring flavors of pear and a touch of nutty almond at the end. It is what I like to refer to as “crispy,” although many serious wine drinkers call this “zesty.” The wine works well with salty food, and I found the lemon in the fish was brought out by the flavor of the wine. Salute!

About Nina

Nina lives in Buffalo, NY. An adventurous home cook, she loves to eat, cook, bake & enjoy life. She writes/blogs about food, tweets adventures & other passions.

23. February 2011 by Nina
Categories: Recipes, Weeknight Meals | Tags: , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , | 1 comment

One Response

  1. […] made these lovely little gems as a first course, primi, to Baked Fish with Savory Bread Crumbs, segundi. I highly recommend the pair. They were delicious with a cool glass of white wine. […]