I’ve said before, but it definitely rings true for my family and me; summer is a time for lighter, healthier meals, and nothing screams lighter fare to me than fish. Here in Wisconsin, fish is an incredibly popular choice because of our proximity to one of the largest freshwater lakes, Lake Michigan, and because of the traditional Wisconsin Friday night fish fry. Come Friday night, restaurants in the area host their own personal fish fry, even if the place is a nontraditional fish fry establishment – it’s a way of life. Often times fried cod is the most popular choice.
Personally, I love deep fried fish, including deep fried cod; however, I rarely make it at home because of the mess involved with deep frying. So typically I like to make fish pan-fried or oven-fried. This particular recipe can go either way, depending on your resources at home; however, for a healthier, lighter version, I opted for the oven-fried cod this go-around. Oven fried meaning delicious breaded fish baked in the oven instead of fried in oil.
I used cod as the fish of choice, because of how accessible it is and its price point. I also think a meatier fish holds up better when oven fried and is a great option for sandwiches.
Some people think that oven fried fish will not give you the same texture and crunch as deep fried or pan-fried; however, I disagree. This oven-fried cod is juicy, crunchy, and full of flavor.
The fish is dredged through a breading assembly line, starting with flour, then egg wash, finally breadcrumbs. Some people prefer panko breadcrumbs as they add a little more crunch; however, I prefer good ole fashioned whole wheat bread crumbs. You can buy store-bought breadcrumbs, or make your own by grinding up day old bread in the food processor.
I wanted to keep the other ingredients simple, yet ones that would enhance the flavor of the fish – arugula for a little bitterness and chili-citrus mayo to brighten up the flavors of the fish. I used chili-garlic sauce found at most local grocers; however sriracha will work too if you have it on hand. Mix chili sauce with lemon juice, lime juice, and mayonnaise to create a very tangy compliment to the fried cod.
Ingredients – Yields 2-4 servings
- 1 french baguette, sliced into 2 or 4 sandwiches
- 1 lb cod fillet(s)
- 1 cup whole wheat breadcrumbs
- 1 egg
- 1/4 cup buttermilk
- 1/2 cup whole wheat flour
- 1/2 lemon, juiced (about a tablespoon)
- 1/2 lime, juiced (about a tablespoon)
- 2/3 cup mayonnaise
- 2 tablespoons chili-garlic sauce
- 1 cup arugula
Preheat oven to 400
Take cod fillet and cut it into four sections. Set up an assembly line of flour on one plate, breadcrumbs on another, and whisk together egg and buttermilk in a bowl. Dredge each filet through the flour first, then egg wash, coating the fish completely, then breadcrumbs. Place each breaded fillet on a greased baking sheet.
Bake fish for about 20-25 minutes, depending on the thickness of the fillets (the thicker, the more time needed).
Meanwhile make your chili-citrus mayo by whisking together lemon and lime juice, mayonnaise, and chili-garlic sauce. Chill until ready to use.
With five minutes left for the fish, toast each french baguette slice in the oven.
Remove both fish and toasted baguette from the oven, and assemble each sandwich with fish, arugula, and chili-citrus mayo.