Baked Cod With Buttery Cracker Topping
Baked, stuffed fish is an old-school restaurant staple in New England; covered in lemony, butter-soaked cracker crumbs, it’s a wonderful way to eat mild white fish like cod or haddock. The dish has a long history and relies on two ingredients New Englanders have in abundance: fresh seafood and crackers, which are descended from sailors’ hardtack. Fannie Farmer’s 1896 “Boston Cooking-School Cook Book” has a recipe for cracker-stuffed halibut, seasoned with butter, salt, pepper and onion juice. Some modern versions use saltines, others use butter crackers like Ritz, and many enrich the crackers with crab meat. This recipe is an easy weeknight variation: Instead of rolling the fish up around the stuffing, which requires long, thin filets, it is generously covered in the stuffing and roasted until the cracker topping is toasted and the fish flakes.
- Serves: 4 persons
- 4ounces butter-flavored crackers, such as Ritz (about 1½ sleeves; 1½ cups crushed)
- 5tablespoons unsalted butter, melted
- ¼cup minced fresh chives
- ¼cup minced flat-leaf parsley
- ½lemon, zest and juice, plus more lemon wedges for serving
- 1teaspoon onion powder
- 1teaspoon garlic powder
- 4(6- to 8-ounce) fillets of cod, haddock, halibut or other white fish
- Coarse kosher salt and black pepper
- Sweet paprika, for serving
Step 1Heat the oven to 425 degrees. Put the crackers in a medium bowl and use your hand to crush them until they are finely crushed. (Some coarser bits are OK.) Add 4 tablespoons of the melted butter, the chives, parsley, lemon zest and onion and garlic powders, and stir to evenly combine, making sure to moisten all the crumbs.
Step 2Put the fish fillets in a large, ovenproof skillet. Drizzle the remaining 1 tablespoon butter over the fish and turn to coat. Season the fish on all sides with salt and pepper. Mound the cracker mixture on top of the fish, covering it. (Some cracker crumbs will fall off the fish.)
Step 3Roast in the oven for 10 to 16 minutes, depending on the thickness of the fillets. Plan for about 10 minutes per inch; the fish should flake easily, and the juices should be bubbly around the edges. Squeeze the lemon juice over the top. Sprinkle with paprika, and serve with extra lemon wedges on the side.