This is a lazy, day-at-the-beach type of recipe – it makes the perfect meal to quickly throw together and devour after hours of lounging in the sun.
Here's what you do: Around 5pm, when everyone is trickling back to the house from the day's adventures, send someone out to fetch fresh fish fillets. Flounder or sole are both good, or substitute another mild fish.
Meanwhile, get the oven warming and delegate a few houseguests to prepare the breadcrumb topping. Shredded Parmesan cheese makes this particular task even easier, and avoids the question of whether your beach house comes equipped with a cheese grater.
As soon as the fish arrives, toss it in a dish with the breadcrumbs and pop it in the oven. Use the time while the fish bakes to open a bottle of wine and throw together a salad.
By the time everyone is showered and assembled for dinner, the fish is ready, too.
Serve it straight from the dish in wedges – don't try to serve individual fillets since the thin pieces of fish tend to melt together in the oven.
Yes, it's a little messy and unkempt, but that's the way you roll during the summer. Nothing fancy -- just good cheese, fresh fish, and company to share it with. It’s summer and the livin’ is easy!
Baked Fish with Parmesan Breadcrumbs
- Butter (for the baking dish)
- Salt and pepper, to taste
- 6 sprigs parsley
- 3 slices (1/4-inch thick) white sandwich bread, cut or torn into 1-inch pieces
- 1 cup (2 1/2 ounces) shredded Parmesan Cheese
- 2 tablespoons unsalted butter, melted
- 2 tablespoons olive oil
- 2 1/2 pounds flounder fillets, or other mild fish
- 1 to 2 lemons, cut into wedges (for garnish)
Preheat the oven to 425°F:
Butter a large (9- by 13-inch) baking dish.
Prepare the fish:
Season the fish on both sides with salt and pepper. Lay them in the baking dish, overlapping them as necessary so the fillets all fit in the dish.
Make the breadcrumb topping:
Strip the leaves from the stems of parsley and add them to a food processor. (Discard or save the stems for another purpose.) Pulse the leaves until well chopped.
Add the bread and pulse until it forms soft, coarse crumbs – you should have about 2 cups of coarse-ground breadcrumbs. Add the Parmesan cheese, and pulse to mix. Add the melted butter, olive oil, salt and pepper and pulse until mixed.
(If using prepared breadcrumbs, just finely chop the parsley and toss with the breadcrumbs. You can also finely chop the Parmesan cheese, if you like, or just toss it with the breadcrumbs as is.)
Bake the fish:
Spread the breadcrumbs evenly over the fish.
Transfer to the oven and bake for 12 to 15 minutes, or until the center of the fish is opaque when probed with a small knife and the breadcrumbs are golden. If you have an instant read thermometer, the temperature of the center of the fish should register 135F.
If the fish cooks before the topping browns, turn on the broiler and broil for about one minute. Watch carefully to keep the breadcrumbs from burning.
Serve the fish:
With a sharp knife, cut the fish into portions. (You won’t be able to serve one single fillet by itself, since they overlap in the pan and cook into one another.) Transfer to plates and serve with lemon wedges.