No Fish Fry Tonight

Fried fish is wonderful, but it’s not worth all that oil.  Pity, as there’s no other way to get that crispy, golden crust.  If only there were a loophole, some way to indulge, to delight in the crunch, while reaping the benefits of clean, healthy baked fish.

Leave it to Gourmet to find a way to produce this miracle.   (Fish fries.  Miracles.  Get it?  Ecclesiastical humor is lost on the public.)  In its 2009 recipe collection, the magazine describes just how to square the circle.  The secret, you see, is to coat the fish in a combination of bread crumbs and cornmeal, then to bake it.

There is still some oil involved, though compared to the vats in which fried fish traditionally swims, it’s minimal.  What emerges from the oven is just as satisfyingly crunchy as anything pulled from a fryer.  It makes for an excellent meal, as pictured above, or, better still, in a sandwich:fish sandwich Nearly as outstanding is the remoulade prepared to accompany the fish.   It shares with the more-common tartar sauce; mayonnaise and finely-diced dills, but remoulade boosts the umami with a little sour cream.  As you may have guessed from the light pink tone, tomato paste plays a part too, which, when paired with fresh lemon juice, introduces a playful tang.

When served with fish breaded and baked, the remoulade adds big flavor while keeping things light.  Something this crispy shouldn’t be light, let alone healthy, should it?  Enjoying a fish fry without the guilt seems an act of divine intervention.  A culinary miracle, at least.


Oven-Fried Catfish with Remoulade Sauce

For the fish:

  • 4 tablespoons vegetable oil, divided
  • 3/4 cup fine bread crumbs
  • 1/2 cup cornmeal
  • 1 teaspoon salt, plus more salt and pepper, to taste
  • 4 (6-ounce) catfish filets
  • 2 large eggs, beaten

For the remoulade:

  • 1/3 cup finely-chopped dill pickles
  • 1/2 cup mayonnaise
  • 1/4 cup sour cream
  • 2 tablespoons finely-chopped parsley (*1)
  • 2 tablespoons finely-chopped shallot
  • 2 tablespoons tomato paste
  • 1 tablespoon tabasco sauce (*2)
  • 1 tablespoon fresh lemon juice

Preheat the oven to 500 degrees with rack set at middle distance.

Brush a baking pan with two tablespoons of the oil.

Put the bread crumbs, cornmeal and salt in a large zip-top bag.  Seal and shake to mix.

Season the fish. both sides, with salt and pepper.  Working with one filet at a time, dip the fish in the eggs, allowing excess egg to drip back into the bowl.  Then, put the fish in the bag, seal the top and shake to completely coat the fish.  Place filet on the baking pan, and repeat process for the remaining fish.

Bake until underside is golden, about six minutes.  Brush the remaining two tablespoons of oil on each filet, then carefully flip it.  Cook for six more minutes.

Whisk together all the remoulade ingredients, then salt to taste.  Serve with the fish.


1 – If you don’t care for parsley’s bitterness, try cilantro instead.

2 – I prefer sriracha, as it’s a bit less harsh than is tabasco.

27 thoughts on “No Fish Fry Tonight

    1. Many thanks, Tamara! The awesome thing about this recipe is that you get the wonderful crispiness without the oil. Sure, frying things sometimes produces interesting results, but it’s about my 187th-favorite cooking method. If the oven can do the same thing as oil, now we’re talking!

      Liked by 1 person

      1. so kind of you to worry about my waistline … newsflash it’s shot from the cancer meds! Put on 16 kilo and only managed to lose five. And the packet claimed I would lose weight … liars 😦

        Liked by 1 person

    1. Why, thank you. Most appreciated, particularly from someone who obviously knows a thing or two about food herself!

      That’s the challenge, isn’t it, finding recipes that only taste “decadent” but actually are healthy? Using fresh, scratch-made ingredients accomplishes quite a bit, I think.

      May this site continues to interest you. Future plans include a few unabashed indulgences, and many more that aren’t quite so “troubling.” In every case, though, I try to keep things interesting. Look forward to reading what you think about those!

      Liked by 1 person

      1. Sounds great. I’m always up for new ideas on ways to make meals a little healthier. I love seeing how others do it! Thankfully I am not the food police (what a lousy job that would be!) and I enjoy occasional indulgences as well. I look forward to seeing what else you have in store! 🙂

        Liked by 1 person

      2. Thanks so much, Summer! Any support is gratefully received, and especially when someone “new” supplies it so generously.

        A few readers are vegetarians, and a couple more married into it. Moreover, some of you have gluten sensitivities. Point is, there are plenty of incentives to introduce something “good” every so often.

        Oh sure, you’ll still find deep-fried butter in cream sauce… OK, actually, that sounds pretty awful, but you get the idea.


    1. Oh, frying has a place here. For example, the churros that appeared this spring turned out particularly well. Still, my preferences reside elsewhere.

      The secret, I think, it to drain the food well. Do that, and you’re in business.

      Still trying to get the best of both worlds here – fried taste and texture without the guilt. I’m not giving up!

      Liked by 1 person

      1. If you find a way, let me know! I don’t feel that in the oven gives that taste, although I know people who do. My foods are the simplest – like chicken, on top of green beans and some baby potatoes in the over – maybe some garlic powder/salt sprinkled on top. Or fried onions with chicken. Or…. anything really simple, that uses the few foods/spices I eat, and I think what I make tastes good….. but that’s just me 🙂 Most people prefer gourmet meals….
        Hey, my sister may like your recipes, I’ll find one to send to her (one that I haven’t commented on or liked). More like her boyfriend but yeah.
        Love, light and glitter

        Liked by 1 person

      2. Sure, Eliza. Hand on heart, the oven just isn’t the same. Still, considerable progress may be made bridging the gap between “Blah” and Perfect!”

        Want a sneak peek? There’s oven-baked Dijon-panko chicken slated for the spring. While the specific recipe is new, similar preparations in the past have been impressive. Each step forward an improvement. Someday we’ll find that Tastes-Just-Like-It’s-Fried-But-Isn’t. Mark my words!

        Liked by 1 person

  1. omg good this looks so good K! Fry fish sandwich with cole slaw is one of my fav comfort foods. Unfortunately my glucose and cholesterol came a little elevated in my last annual. First time but I’m still freaking out so I think I’m going to go vegan for a while 🙂 LOL I’ll stick to come visit and admire all the good food you have here until the values go back to normal 🙂

    Liked by 1 person

    1. Wonderfully flattering, Daniela!

      Yours is a sensible approach, making adjustments now, in hopes of reinvigorating your table later. May this site provide inspiration on your journey.

      I greatly enjoy your comments, and I look forward to future discussions of foods that “might be…someday…could be.”

      Plus, a few future recipes may allow you to indulge now, while still being good. Please, then, keep reading!

      Liked by 1 person

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