How to Bake Fish
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.
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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- 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
- Pre-heat oven to 375 degrees. Season mahi-mahi fillets with mesquite seasoning. Set aside to come to room temperature.
- 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.
- When onions are carmelized add cubed mangos to pan. Saute until warmed through but still firm.
- 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.
- 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.
- Bake in a 375 degree oven for 20 minutes or until the fish flakes. Remove from paper and serve.