My favorite fish is Chilean Sea Bass, but it’s not at all easy to find. If you are fortunate enough to live in a place that carries this delicacy, use it in this recipe.  If you face the same fishy situation we do  (sorry, could not resist the pun)  cod,  or any firm-fleshed white fish will work well here.  Including the prep work, this delicious main dish will be ready in 20 minutes tops.  My kind of weeknight meal.  And, since we are on the subject, here is a link to an article listing the 5 seafood items you should never eat, that I first saw over at Chucrute com Salsicha (thanks, Fer!).  Keep that in mind when you go shopping.

(from Cooking New American, Martha Holmberg)

1/2 cup Panko breadcrumbs
2 Tbs chopped fresh tarragon
2 tsp grated lemon zest
1 Tbs melted butter
Salt and freshly ground black pepper
4 cod fillets  (about 1 inch thick)
1 tsp Dijon mustard

Heat the oven to 450°F.

Mix the crumbs, tarragon, lemon zest, melted butter, and a little salt and pepper in a small bowl.

Spread each fillet with 1/4 teaspoon mustard and season with salt and pepper. Carefully pat the crumb topping over the surface of each fillet, pressing lightly so it sticks.

Brush a little oil onto a small baking sheet or shallow baking pan and set the fillets on the oiled spot (or cover the pan with parchment paper). Bake the fish in the hot oven until the topping is golden brown and crisp and the fish is tender  (10 to 15 minutes). If the topping seems to be getting too dark before the fish is cooked, turn the heat down to 375°F.

Serve immediately, and… ENJOY!

to print the recipe, click here

Comments:  For this recipe, you must use fresh tarragon, the dried version would not deliver the same flavor. We were amazed to find out that our tarragon plant had survived our absence during the last year in Los Angeles, when it was completely ignored outside, enduring a very harsh winter.  Maybe it is added proof of our lousy gardening skills: the less we mess with a plant, the better it thrives.  Something to consider for next year…

This recipe is a keeper.  Other herbs and spices can take it in slightly different directions, so have fun with it, using panko crumbs and melted butter as your white canvas.  I imagine olive oil would work just as well, and intend to use it next time in place of butter.  The fish is protected by the crumbs from the high heat in the oven, ending up moist and tender. The crumb crust is so delicious I had to resist peeling it off the second piece, leaving the fish naked for my lunch next day.  😉

ONE YEAR AGO:  Soba Noodles: Light and Healthy

TWO YEARS AGO: Potato-Rosemary Bread

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  1. hee-hee, fishy situation. I was just thinking last night (it happens every once in a while :0) that I have to work in more fish to our diet… none of us are ‘natural’ fish lovers (I know, for shame), but we well recognize the health benefits and have had our share of tasty swimmers. I love 20 minute meals and when the result is this good, you can bet I’m in! I wonder if tilapia would work here – it seems fairly solid. Love the tarragon…

    p.s. how was LA? We woke up to a winter wonderland this morning!! Our first snowfall – in it’s a big one! 🙂


    • Interesting, I thought you would be pretty heavy into “the swimmers” 😉
      I used to be a beef lover, the T-bone steak or a nice rib eye steak my top choices for a nice dinner – but more and more I lean towards fish and seafood in general. Cannot have enough!

      We are still in L.A. – in fact, we leave only on Dec 2nd, so ten more days to go, and a ton of work ahead (sigh)

      Not jealous of your snow….. It would probably kill me, or at least put me in a completely rotten mood 😉

      edited to add: about the tilapia, those filets tend to be on the thin side, I wonder if they would overcook by the time the crumbs were golden. I remember seeing a recipe in Cook’s Illustrated in which the crumbs were toasted before hand – or maybe it was in Fine Cooking? Maybe you could try that, saute the crumbs just a little bit, then press them on the tilapia and bake until done – definitely less than 15 minutes


    • Some herbs are so much better in their natural state – I never buy dried basil, parsley, cilantro. I thought tarragon would be ok,but once I cooked with the fresh leaves, I changed my mind


    • Yeap! Anthropologie indeed! Love this plate too – I learned they will open an ANthropologie store in Oklahoma City, which means the probability of Sally going bankrupt will significantly increase…. (sigh)


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