Baking fish is easy and produces little mess. Essentially, the fish
is steamed in it's own juices, with perhaps some lemon juice, white wine
and aromatic herbs to enhance them.
Ready to wrap
Wrap & seal
Ready to serve
- Scale and clean the fish per method on our page
Cleaning and Filleting Round Fish
or Cleaning & Filleting Deep
Bodied Fish, whichever is applicable. Pan dress the fish if you
want it that way, otherwise leave it whole.
- Many fish need several diagonal slashes half way through the flesh on
both sides to keep skin shrink from randomly tearing the fish and making
it unattractive. The Red Snapper in the photos has skin with very modest
shrink so it doesn't need slashes.
- Rub the fish with kosher salt and a little pepper, also rub a
little on the inside of the body cavity. Brush both sides of the fish with
Extra Virgin olive oil.
- At this point you have options. The Red Snapper shown has just a sprig
of Rosemary placed in the body cavity. You can pour a tablespoon of white
wine around the fish, or place several very thin slices of lemon over the
top (as shown on a pan dressed trout), or you can stuff the cavity
as was the baked mackerel at the top left of this page.
- Seal the package as tightly as you can to contain the steam as the fish
- Bake according to the table below
- Serving: You can serve the fish as baked (as was the stuffed
mackerel at the top of this page, or you can dismantle the fish for serving.
Our instruction Dismantling Cooked Fish
continue with the Red Snapper used here.
Others have published times much shorter than mine - I tried theirs and
got raw fish. A fish that's baked a few minutes over is still just fine, but an
underdone fish is a disaster, particularly if you try to disassemble it for
Most recommend "Cook until opaque and flakes easily" which can be
difficult to determine without destroying the product. FDA guidelines are
an internal temperature of 145°F/63°C for 15 seconds, or
165°F/74°C for stuffed fish (higher 'cause they have no idea what
you've stuffed it with).
** Example, Fish 1-1/2 inch thick, thawed, not stuffed, wrapped in foil.
|For oven preheated to 425°F/220°C
Add up all lines that apply
|First inch of thickness||10 minutes||10|
|Each additional 1/2 inch||5 minutes||5|
|Wrapped in foil||10 minutes||10|
|On foil uncovered||5 minutes|
|In an uncovered dish||10 minutes|
|In a foil covered dish||15 minutes|
|Stuffed fish||10 minutes|
|Not thawed before cooking||10 minutes|
- Know Your Fish: Hints for many kinds of fish are on the
"Details and Cooking" pages linked from our
Varieties of Fish page
(very large page). Some fish stay firm and manageable while others
tend break up. Baking is more tolerant than other cooking methods,
but you still want fish that stays together reasonably well.
- Dismantling: If you intend to dismantle your fish
into fillets before serving, selecting a fish that cooks firm is
important. Even more important is that the fish be done all the way
through to the backbone or you'll break it up trying to get the fillets
- Done: One test for doneness of a baked fish is to pull
out the dorsal (top) fin. If it doesn't pull out smoothly and easily the
fish isn't done.
- Oil: You can use your best Ultra Virgin Olive Oil for
this cooking method.
- Marinading: If you marinade fish, let them soak up the
marinade for about 20 minutes at room temperature or 1 hour in the
refrigerator. Salt and acid in the marinade will retard spoilage but
don't leave them out more than about 20 minutes. If you use leftover
marinade for a sauce bring it to a high simmer for 5 minutes in
a saucepan to make sure it's safe
- Oven & Foil: That's about all you need to bake fish.
gmf_fishbake1 060630 var - www.clovegarden.com
- U.S. measure: t=teaspoon,
T=Tablespoon, c=cup, qt=quart, oz=ounce,
#=pound, cl=clove in=inch, ar=as required
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