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How to Bake Fish

Updated on August 3, 2012
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Usually, I prefer to grill or pan-fry fish. I love the beautiful, golden color that is created from those methods. Pan-frying and grilling produces delicious results but cooking fish in that way does have some downsides. First, I need to watch the fish very carefully while it's cooking and it takes a lot of my time. Second, I tend to make a big mess when I grill or pan-fry. Once in awhile, I feel like making something that's a little more low-maintenance so I bake the fish.


Why bake fish?

Baking fish is very easy and convenient. You can assemble everything in advance and then pop it in the oven when you're ready. Wrapping fish in parchment works well because it steams the fish in it's own juices and there is no risk of burning. What that means to you is freedom. Freedom to visit with your family or guests and actually enjoy yourself while your meal bakes.

Grilling or pan-frying fish can be intimidating for a new cook. You have to wait until the fish is cooked just the right amount before flipping it or else it will stick to the pan or grill. Baking is the simplest way for a new or busy cook to prepare fish. There's a lot more margin for error. Whether you are experienced or inexperienced at preparing fish, baking will provide nice, tasty results with a very small investment of your time.

How to bake fish

The best way to bake fish in the oven is to prepare it en papillote. En papillote is just a fancy, French way of saying you're putting the fish in a pouch or parcel and baking it. Usually, I use parchment paper when baking en papillote but I found a new product that worked very well. Reynolds Wrap has come out with a non-stick pan lining paper. One side of the paper is parchment and the other side is foil. I really enjoyed using this product because the paper is tear-resistant and the addition of the foil made it easier to seal the pouches up than plain parchment.

When preparing fish en papillote, all you need to do is season the fish and add whatever garnish you desire. You can add vegetables, salsa, jam or relish. You are only limited by what you can imagine. The great thing about baking en papillote is that there is no need to add oil to the fish to keep it moist. All of the natural moisture is contained in the envelope. It's a very healthy method of preparation.

Tip: An easy way to dice a mango is to cut it along the seed, score the fruit just to the peel and then slice it away from the peel.

An easy way to dice a mango.
An easy way to dice a mango. | Source
Gather ingredients together
Gather ingredients together | Source
Thinly slice a medium onion
Thinly slice a medium onion | Source
Assembled ingredients ready to be wrapped and baked.
Assembled ingredients ready to be wrapped and baked. | Source
Fold the short ends first.
Fold the short ends first. | Source
Fold long ends to the middle.
Fold long ends to the middle. | Source
Roll to seal.
Roll to seal. | Source
Source

Mango Mojito Mahi-Mahi

I know a lot of people like to buy their fish fresh from the market. As a busy mom, I don't have the time to rush into the market all of the time so I buy most of my groceries in advance. Costco sells large bags of individually wrapped and frozen mahi-mahi for a pretty good price, so, that's where we buy our fish. I love mahi-mahi. It reminds me of halibut with it's mild taste and firm texture but it is a lot less expensive. I also love mojitos. A mojito is a refreshing cocktail made of rum, lime juice, club soda, simple syrup and mint. There are many tasty variations of the mojito. I've dabbled in recipes with blueberry and ginger added to the mix as well as other fruits like mangos. My love of mojito's inspired me to make a relish out of many of its ingredients, place it atop mahi-mahi filets and bake it en papillote. I seasoned the fish with mesquite seasoning which provides a grilled taste without having to grill. The result is a sweet yet savory and light dish that is simple to prepare on a busy weeknight.

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Ingredients

  • 4 mahi-mahi fillets, thawed or fresh
  • Mesquite Seasoning, to taste
  • 1 medium onion, thinly sliced
  • 2 mangos, cubed
  • 1 Tbsp fresh mint, chopped
  • 1 1/2 fresh limes, juiced
  • 1/4 tsp cumin
  • pinch sugar
  • salt and pepper, to taste
  • 2 tablespoons canola oil

Instructions

  1. Pre-heat oven to 375 degrees. Season mahi-mahi fillets with mesquite seasoning. Set aside to come to room temperature.
  2. Heat oil in a pan over medium high heat. When oil is wavering, add thinly sliced onions. Reduce heat to the point that you can hear the onions lightly sizzle. Season with salt and pepper. Sprinkle with a pinch of sugar. Cook and stir until onions are carmelized and golden, about 10-15 minutes. If they are sticking to the pan, add a little water to deglaze.
  3. When onions are carmelized add cubed mangos to pan. Saute until warmed through but still firm.
  4. In a medium bowl, combine onion and mango mix with 1 TBSP chopped mint, the juice of 1 1/2 limes and 1/4 tsp cumin.
  5. Cut 4 pieces of parchment or pan lining paper. (About 18 inches long.) Place fish in center of paper, top with onion/mango relish and garnish with a lime slice. Fold the short ends of the paper towards the fish. Fold the long ends towards the center and roll down to seal. Place on a baking sheet.
  6. Bake in a 375 degree oven for 20 minutes or until the fish flakes. Remove from paper and serve.

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    • profile image

      KDuBarry03 5 years ago

      haha! Thank you for checking out my profile! I went to a technical school for Culinary Arts instead of regular high school. I love cooking! Oh and I know what you mean: on busy days, I just cook Ramen! I usually take my ramen up a notch since I have such a complicated pallet! With ramen, I usually make a roux, saute some red onions, potatoes, and bell peppers, add it to the boiling water, add some soy sauce, sesame oil, and a range of spices, and serve! It's very good :)

      Yes, I am also working on a novel! I'm nearly done the 4th edit while shopping around for different agents (or I might self publish)! Let's just say I like to stay busy! :)

      Now I have to say, I must commend you on being a stay at home mom (I read your bio as well!) My mom and you sound very similar. She used to work on Wall Street and retired to be a stay at home mom. I really think it's important for children to have at least one parent stay home and be with them! My hats off to you!

    • denisemai profile image
      Author

      Denise Mai 5 years ago from Idaho

      Hey, you know what? I am beyond impressed that a young guy attending college (a double major no less!) is actually knowledgeable about cooking and baking. I think I survived my college years on a steady diet of Top Ramen and mac n cheese. You are so ahead of the game. And to have written a book? I think your future looks mighty bright. And in case you're wondering, YES, I checked out your profile page. Amazing! Keep it up. :)

    • profile image

      KDuBarry03 5 years ago

      LOL! I won't keep you then! Have fun with this recipe and your mahi mahi!

    • denisemai profile image
      Author

      Denise Mai 5 years ago from Idaho

      You can use whatever fish you like. This is an original recipe from my kitchen and I just happened to have some mahi mahi in the freezer. ;)

    • profile image

      KDuBarry03 5 years ago

      Oh yes, that's understandable. Why go and pay top price for a fresh water fish, that has possibly been sitting for a while, when you can just go and fish one for yourself? It's much more fun ad the fish stays fresher! I'm sure, though with the fish you caught, you can replace the Mahi Mahi with a different fish? perhaps salmon or something?

    • denisemai profile image
      Author

      Denise Mai 5 years ago from Idaho

      Yup. Go fishing! Pike, bass, trout, crappie, and stealhead are all plentiful in our many lakes and rivers but, alas, no mahi mahi. We have a fish market that brings in fresh ocean and freshwater fish but their hours are shorter than a grocer's so it's difficult for me to make an impulse purchase. I wont pay for freshwater fish, though. I just send my son to the lake to catch them.

    • profile image

      KDuBarry03 5 years ago

      Oh yeah, that's true! Isn't there a way, for Idaho, to get access to fresh fish?

    • denisemai profile image
      Author

      Denise Mai 5 years ago from Idaho

      You bet fresh is better! Just doesn't always work out when you're land-locked in Idaho. Thanks for reading KDuBarry03!

    • profile image

      KDuBarry03 5 years ago

      Great Hub! I think this kind of dish would be best with fresh Mahi Mahi instead of buying frozen. WHen ever I am working with fish, I usually buy it whole, clean it myself, and make a fish dish. I use the remains to make a fish stock for soup. I never tried this recipe before; best give it a try!

    • profile image

      Chris Hugh 5 years ago

      Thanks!

    • denisemai profile image
      Author

      Denise Mai 5 years ago from Idaho

      That would be awesome! And let me know if you do write a hub so I can read it.

    • profile image

      Chris Hugh 5 years ago

      Thanks, Denise. If I develop a way to do it, I'll write a Hub on it:)

    • denisemai profile image
      Author

      Denise Mai 5 years ago from Idaho

      Hi, Chris. No, I don't have a recipe for preparing fish from the freezer to the oven. As a matter of fact, a lot of water comes off of the fish when you thaw it and I try to remove that extra liquid before baking by patting the fish dry. If you are in a time crunch, you can defrost the fish in the microwave but you'll have to watch it closely. :-)

    • angela_michelle profile image

      Angela Michelle Schultz 5 years ago from United States

      This looks really good. Yummy.

    • profile image

      Chris Hugh 5 years ago

      Do you instructions for going straight from freezer to oven? Something really simple and foolproof?