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Recipe in my back pocket

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.

Honey-Mustard Fish

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.

fish coatings

Honey:lemon:mustard on the left and panko crumbs on the right.

  • Dip filets of fish in liquid to coat well, then dip in panko mix.
fish in dish

Breaded fish, ready to go in the oven

  • 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?

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