A while back I tried making crispy oven baked fish. I dipped the fish in beaten egg whites, dredged them in crushed cracker crumbs, and sprinkled them with homeade "lemon pepper seasoning" ( a blend of salt, pepper, and lemon zest...that's what the bottled one is made of, right?). They were ok. The texture was absolutely perfect, but the taste was a little bland. The lemon flavor didn't come through AT ALL, and I immediately started thinking about how to improve the recipe. I changed the crackers to panko just to change it up (also, I had run out of crackers), added the juice of the lemon for a punch of flavor, made a few changes in the procedure, and can I say, WOW! This fish was amazing! The panko was a perfect choice, the texture was light and crispy. The lemon was present but not overpowering. It was ready for the oven in a matter of minutes, delicious, and healthy to boot! This recipe is a winner. I used whiting, but any whitfish should probably work. I used panko, but crushed cornflakes or buttery crackers would give a similar crispy crunch. I added a bit of dried rosemary because I happened to have it, but I could see some dried italian seasoning or probably any number of fresh herbs working as well. The possibilities are endless (figuratively). I served it with honey glazed carrots and baked macaroni and cheese.
Crispy Lemon Fish
1 lb frozen whiting filets, thawed
2 egg whites
2 T water
1 1/2 cup panko bread crumbs (approx)
1/4 tsp dried rosemary, crushed
zest of one lemon
juice of 1/2 lemon
2 T butter, melted
salt and pepper to taste
1) Preheat oven to 400F. Spray a cookie sheet (Foil is optional, but I recommend for easy cleanup. Even if you use it, please spray)with nonstick cooking spray.
2) Season whiting filets on both sides with salt and pepper to taste, set aside. Add egg whites and water to large bowl/dish, beat until frothy, set aside. In a seperate large bowl/dish combine panko and rosemary. Season to taste with salt and pepper, set aside.
3) Dip fish into egg white mixture, let excess drip off. (You may need to rebeat egg whites for a few seconds between filets) Dip into panko mixture, press panko into fish on both sides and then place onto cookie sheet. (It doesn't want to stick, but it will for a minute, and if you move it quickly onto the pan there will be very few crumb casualties)
4) Sprinkle remaining crumbs on top of dipped fish filets, pressing lightly (use your judgement, if there are a ton of crumbs left over, just toss them).
5) Sprinkle lemon zest, then lemon juice, evenly over whiting filets (well, as evenly as possible). Drizzle butter evenly over all.
6) Bake filets in 400F oven for 20 minutes, or until fish is opaque and flakes evenly with fork. Serve hot.