Thursday, August 20, 2015

If Fish Didn’t Have Bones

Crunchy Baked Fish with Tabouli Salad and Garlic Mayonnaise (photo by Jenny Craig) 

I didn’t grow up with fish sticks, but I did like pickled herring and gefilte fish—neither of which had a bone in sight.  My introduction to real fish came in London, where there was a chain of restaurants called Wheelers.  You could order Dover sole cooked at least a dozen different ways.  When the waiter brought your dinner, he deboned it right in front of you.

Regrettably I never developed that skill, so my family dealt with many mouthfuls of bones and consequently hated fish.  Now that I’m more aware of fish’s healthful benefits, I have made strong efforts to cook relatively boneless versions.  

Salmon steaks (which are chopped through the backbone) have bones, but salmon fillets don’t.  Fresh tuna lacks bones, but it’s expensive.  Fillets of cheaper fish, such as rockfish, tilapia and swai, are usually bone-free.  Or if you’re looking for another gadget to add to your collection, invest in a pair of fish tweezers.

Here is my version of fish sticks.
Crunchy Baked Fish - serves 4 (adapted from “Help! My Apartment Has a Dining Room”
1/4 cup dried bread crumbs
1/4 cup grated Parmesan cheese
1/4 teaspoon black pepper
1/4 teaspoon salt
1/4 cup mayonnaise
1 1/2 pounds fish fillets 
Preheat the oven to 425 degrees.  Line a large baking sheet with aluminum foil and set aside. 
Combine the bread crumbs, Parmesan cheese, salt and pepper in a soup bowl or large plate and set aside.  Place the mayonnaise in another soup bowl or large plate and set aside. 
Rinse the fish and remove any visible bones.  If you like, cut each fillet into 3-4 relatively equal pieces. 
Using a fork, dip a fillet into the mayonnaise and coat both sides.  Then transfer it to the bread crumb mixture and coat both sides. 
Transfer the coated fillet to the foil-covered sheet and repeat the process until done. 
Bake for 10 minutes, or until the fish breaks into flakes when you press on it with a fork.  Serve immediately.
           For more recipes, order "Help! My Apartment Has a Kitchen!"


  1. We eat a lot of fish, so this recipe is now on our agenda. Since we eat so much fish, I'm wondering if you have a good tartar sauce recipe. I bought the Trader Joe's brand and it's way too spicy for fish. It actually works well as a sandwich spread for turkey. Gelson's has a good tartar sauce, but it's pricey, Do you have a winning tartar sauce recipe? Care to weigh in?

    1. Here's a very simple tartar sauce recipe - inelegant but tasty. Mix together 2 tablespoons mayonnaise with 1 teaspoon pickle relish. Taste. Add more relish if you like.