I’m kind of a stickler for following recipes, especially the first time through, but even after that, I still find myself peering at a cookbook to see if it was a teaspoon or half a teaspoon of thyme.
Eventually I’d like to get better at winging it in the kitchen – either throwing things together by instinct or having a collection of recipes sitting in my head. I always imagine myself on a trip somewhere far from home and having a desire to make scones – could I do it? Could I recreate that same recipe I’ve made over and over many a Saturday morning?
There are just a few things I cook straight from memory, and I find those recipes with simple ingredients or an easy-to-remember formula are best.
Here’s one I like to think of as my “back pocket” fish recipe. If I find myself with some fish or decide to pick some up on the way home, I know I can always make this one with maybe just a stop by the produce aisle for a lemon.
A note about fish quantities & types: Since I’m usually cooking for two, I get about 3/4 lb of fish – this is plenty with maybe a little extra leftover. I like this recipe best with a firm white fish like catfish, tilapia, or cod. It would work with salmon probably, but I think there are better ways to show off salmon.
First, let’s start with the ratio – it’s quite simple. honey : lemon juice : dijon mustard
- Whisk an equal amount of each in a flat dish or bowl. I usually do 1-2 Tbsp each.
- In a 2nd bowl, toss together some panko crumbs (my preference) or in a pinch, regular bread crumbs with dried thyme, salt, and pepper. Regular bread crumbs come out a little bit soggier I’ve found.
- Dip filets of fish in liquid to coat well, then dip in panko mix.
- Place in a single layer in a baking dish. (I often like to put either parchment paper or foil in the dish to make clean up easier.)
- I’ve baked this recipe at anywhere from 350-425 degrees, depending on what other sides I’m making. So, for the purposes of giving you some directions – let’s say about 12-18 minutes at 375, depending upon thickness of fish.
If I’m doing catfish, sweet potato oven fries are a natural fit, so I’ll start those first then put the fish in for the last 15 minutes. What’s in your back pocket?