Once years ago, when I was six years old, visiting my aunt and uncle in Washington D.C., I ate an entire box of Ritz crackers. We never had anything like those crackers at home, so buttery, so delicious. And once I started, I couldn’t stop eating them.
They are banned from my house for the very reason that I still find them impossible to resist. Banned with the exception of this recipe. Have you ever had white fish, baked with a Ritz cracker topping? It’s such a standard in New England that you’ll even find a Ritz cracker and butter mixture already packaged in plastic containers for sale at fish markets.
It’s so easy, all you have to do is put the fish fillets in a baking pan, smother them with the topping, and bake. And the taste? Like lobster—infused with butter. Can you use a different cracker? I don’t think so. You can, of course, but it just won’t taste the same.
Any white, lean fish will work with this recipe. In New England, cod, haddock, pollock and hake are traditional, but walleye, catfish, bass, snapper, Pacific rock cod, striped bass or Gulf Coast redfish will all work.
- 2 pounds skinless cod fillets
- 1 sleeve of Ritz crackers (about 34 crackers)
- 5 Tbsp unsalted butter
- Lemon and parsley for garnish (optional)
1 Preheat the oven to 350°F. Grease a small baking pan or casserole pan with butter or a little oil. Rinse off the fish fillets with cold water, pat dry. Use long nose pliers to remove any pin bones from the fillets. If you want, cut the fillets into large serving pieces. Place the fillets at the bottom of the pan, sprinkle with salt.
2 Melt the butter. Crush the Ritz crackers over a bowl; they should look like coarse breadcrumbs. Mix the melted butter with the breadcrumbs. Pack the crumb mixture over the top and sides of the fish fillets.
3 Place in the oven and bake for 20 minutes, or until the fish flakes easily. (Thin fillets may take less time, very thick fillets may take longer.)
Serve the fish with lemon and parsley.