This is a good starter fish dish. I didn’t grow up in a house where seafood — outside fish sticks (oh how I love fish sticks; I know, culinary tragedy) — was a regular part of the menu, so I’ve never had experience with cooking and preparing fresh fish. Now, I know fish is good and good for you, and I live in a coastal, fish-wealthy area, so I know I should learn how to prepare the fruits de mer. I picked up The New Legal Sea Foods Cookbook to help me along the journey. I decided to try an easy, few-ingredient recipe to start myself off. It was successful, I think, although I couldn’t quite believe it when it happened.

This is also a good dish to start with for people who are unsure whether they like fish, who think fish tastes too “fishy.” This didn’t taste “fishy” at all, since I got my fish at the seafood counter only an hour before I cooked it, and in the intervening time I kept it on ice in the coldest part of the refrigerator — I even had the seafood counter pack the filets in ice before I left the store. Subsequently, my fish had an amazing texture and a clean, fresh flavor.

Easy Baked Haddock
serves 4 (I got 2 filets, and got six servings out of this recipe)

2 lbs haddock filets*
1/2 c. freshly made bread crumbs
1 to 1 1/2 tsp minced garlic
1 1/2 Tbsp chopped fresh parsley, chives, or sweet marjoram, or 1 Tbsp chopped fresh tarragon**
2 Tbsp mayonnaise
freshly milled black pepper

*According to the head note on the recipe, you can also use cod, grouper, or salmon, just be sure to adjust the baking time as needed.
**I used fresh chives.

Preheat the oven to 425 degrees.

Put the fish filets in a large buttered baking dish. Blend together the bread crumbs, garlic, and herbs. Spread the surface of each filet with mayonnaise, and sprinkle with fresh pepper to taste and the bread crumb mixture. Bake for 8 to 15 minutes, or until the fish is opaque and cooked through (flakes easily) and the bread crumbs are lightly browned.

Reheats not too shabbily, in a microwave on half power.