Baked Fish
Baked Fish
5 from 107 votes
Tender, perfectly flaky baked cod fish and baked with an array of spices. One of the best and healthy fish recipes for dinner out there. A simple yet light weeknight meal.
Baked Fish

Baked Fish. Let me take you on a journey through the annals of culinary history. Originating from Mediterranean coasts, this dish has travelled and transformed, offering a gastronomic delight in various cultures.

While the Mediterranean communities mastered the art of baking fish with minimal spices, it’s the addition of spices from various parts of the world that has made it an international favourite.

What makes the Baked Fish recipe stand out? The difficulty level—or the lack thereof. As I’ve come to discover, this recipe is quite forgiving. Whether you’re a novice trying your hand at cooking for the first time or an expert looking for a quick meal, it caters to all.

Over the years, the Baked Fish has seen various transformations. From the simple olive oil and lemon zest variation to the spicy, exotic renditions – it’s truly a dish that embraces change. Our version, with its carefully curated blend of spices, strikes a beautiful balance between simplicity and bold flavours.

The base ingredient, fish, is like a canvas, ready to take on the colours of the ingredients you use. Its delicate flavour absorbs and enhances the spices, leading to an exquisite tasting experience. The olive oil doesn’t just act as a medium; it complements the fish by adding a smooth, rich texture.

If you’re wondering about the spices, oh, where do I begin? Every single one of them is like a note in a symphony. Salt brings out the natural flavours, black pepper adds warmth, and garlic powder imparts that delicious aroma we all love.

Paprika, with its mild sweetness and slightly fruity undertone, complements the fish perfectly. Then there’s the chili powder and crushed chilies for those who enjoy a kick in their meals.

Baked Fish isn’t just a dish; it’s an experience. From prepping the fish to watching it bake to perfection, the entire process is a treat.

It’s a testament to the magic that happens when simple ingredients come together. So, whether you’re looking to relish a family dinner or impress your guests, this recipe will have everyone coming back for seconds!

What Ingredients to Use & Why

Before diving into the delicious world of our Baked Fish, let’s get acquainted with our star players—the ingredients. These aren’t just items; they’re the backbone of this culinary delight.

Fish: The protagonist of our dish! A lean protein that’s versatile and takes on the flavours of the spices it’s marinated with. Besides its delightful taste, it offers numerous health benefits. If fish isn’t your preference, tofu or chicken can be a good substitute, though the flavours might vary slightly.

Olive Oil: Oh, the silky smoothness! Not just a cooking medium, it acts as a binding agent for our spices, ensuring they coat the fish evenly. It brings a richness that’s unparalleled. If you’re out of olive oil, consider using coconut oil or butter for a different flavour twist.

Salt: It’s like the director in the background, ensuring every character plays its part. While it enhances the natural flavours of fish, too much can overpower. In its absence, consider using soy sauce for a hint of umami.

Black Pepper: The spice that provides warmth without the burn. It introduces a slight kick and enhances the overall flavour. If black pepper isn’t available, white pepper can be a worthy alternative.

Garlic Powder: Aromatic and flavourful, this ingredient is the secret to many a delightful dish. If you’re out of garlic powder, fresh minced garlic works just as well.

Paprika: A subtle sweet spice with fruity undertones, it complements the flavours without overpowering. No paprika in the pantry? A bit of red bell pepper powder or smoked paprika can work.

Chili Powder: For those who enjoy a hint of spiciness. It elevates the dish, making it moreish. In its absence, cayenne pepper or hot sauce can be a spicy substitute.

Crushed Chillies: Ah, for that extra kick! These beauties ensure your Baked Fish is a fiery delight. If you don’t have crushed chillies on hand, red pepper flakes or even fresh chopped chillies can serve the purpose.

While each ingredient has its role, together they create a harmonious blend of flavours, making our Baked Fish the delectable dish it is.

Mastering the Art of Baking Fish to Perfection

Ever tried baking fish and ended up with a dry, unappetizing slab? Believe me, I’ve been there. But with time, I’ve unlocked the secrets to perfectly baked fish every time. The key lies not just in the choice of fish but also in the techniques and tips that guarantee a moist, flavourful outcome.

When choosing fish, I always go for fresh or flash-frozen. The smell should be ocean-like, not fishy. It might surprise you, but the firmer fishes like salmon, halibut, or cod work best for baking.

Their flesh holds up well, and they can absorb flavours more effectively. Now, if you’re a fan of delicate fish like tilapia, fret not. Just reduce the baking time slightly to prevent it from drying out.

One of the cardinal rules I’ve come to appreciate is seasoning. Whether it’s the aromatic garlic powder, the heat from crushed chilies, or the smokiness of paprika, each spice elevates the dish to a gourmet level. Remember, it’s not about masking the fish’s flavour but enhancing it.

Now, a secret tip that I swear by – after seasoning, let the fish marinate for at least 15 minutes. This ensures the fish soaks in all the wonderful flavours. And while I love the recipe’s spice combination, don’t hesitate to experiment and add a splash of lemon or some fresh herbs.

But what about the actual baking? Here’s where things get interesting. Preheat that oven. This ensures even cooking. Drizzling the fish with olive oil acts as a protective layer, preventing the fish from drying out. The result? A perfectly baked fish with a crisp exterior and a tender, flavourful interior.

Lastly, don’t forget to rest the fish for about 5 minutes after baking. This allows the juices to redistribute, ensuring every bite is moist and packed with flavour.

Olive Oil in Seafood Dishes – More Than Just a Cooking Medium

I’ve cooked numerous dishes over the years, and if there’s one ingredient that consistently amazes me with its versatility, it’s olive oil. Particularly in seafood dishes like the Baked Fish, olive oil shines not just as a cooking medium, but as a flavour enhancer.

Ever wondered why Mediterranean cuisine, with its abundance of seafood dishes, places such a strong emphasis on olive oil? The answer lies in its unique characteristics.

Olive oil has a rich, fruity profile that complements the delicate flavours of seafood, especially fish. When I drizzle olive oil over fish, I’m doing more than just preparing it for baking; I’m adding a layer of richness.

While other oils can serve as mere mediums, olive oil interacts with the fish. It infuses it, enhancing its natural taste. Plus, there’s the added advantage of olive oil’s health benefits. Rich in monounsaturated fats and antioxidants, it’s a heart-friendly option.

But not all olive oils are created equal. For my baked fish recipe, I always opt for extra virgin olive oil (EVOO). Its cold-pressed nature retains the flavours and nutrients, ensuring you get the best of both worlds.

However, as much as I sing praises of olive oil, there’s a time and place for everything. While it’s fantastic for baking and drizzling, I wouldn’t recommend it for high-heat cooking like deep-frying. It has a lower smoke point and can turn rancid when exposed to very high temperatures.

The next time you reach for that bottle of olive oil, remember, it’s not just oil; it’s a flavour journey.

Whether you’re baking fish or making a salad dressing, olive oil is the secret ingredient that can elevate a dish from good to extraordinary. And as someone who’s explored the culinary world, trust me when I say, embracing olive oil in your kitchen is a decision you won’t regret.

Embracing the Spice Route: The Magic of Dry Rubs on Fish

I’ve journeyed through the culinary landscape for quite a while, and the one thing that never ceases to intrigue me is the magic of spices.

Especially when it comes to fish, which tends to be a blank canvas, ready to absorb flavours. So, when the Baked Fish recipe called for a mix of paprika, garlic powder, and crushed chillies, among others, I was all ears.

Let’s talk paprika. Ah, this bright red wonder! Hailing from Central America but popularized in Hungary and Spain, paprika brings a distinct smoky, sweet warmth to dishes. When I sprinkle it on fish, it’s like painting a canvas with hues of rich flavours. Its colour also gives a vibrant, appetizing hue to the dish.

Garlic powder, on the other hand, is like that dependable friend you can always rely on. It doesn’t overpower but subtly complements the fish, offering a mellow, aromatic sweetness. It’s a pantry staple I can’t do without.

And then, there’s the fiery duo: chilli powder and crushed chillies. Every time I add them to my fish, they bring a heat level that contrasts beautifully with the mildness of the fish. Not just heat, they add a complexity making every bite exciting.

Remember, while these spices are fantastic, the secret is in the balance. It’s like orchestrating a symphony; every spice plays its part to create a harmonious flavour profile.

The Science Behind Baking Fish: It’s All About the Temperature

While many folks adore the sizzle of a frying pan, I’ve always been enamoured by the quiet, transformative power of an oven. Baking fish, for instance, is not just about placing it in an oven and waiting. It’s an art, and more fascinatingly, a science.

Baking fish at 200°C (400°F) is not just a random number pulled from the air. When I bake fish at this specific temperature, magic unfolds.

The exterior of the fish gets exposed to the direct heat, sealing in the juices and ensuring a golden-brown crust. On the inside, the fish gently cooks in its own juices, resulting in a tender, flaky texture.

The thickness of the fish plays a significant role in the baking process. Thicker cuts might need a tad more time, while thinner slices, like tilapia or sole, might be done sooner.

Then there’s the role of olive oil. Not only does it prevent the fish from sticking to the foil, but it also aids in heat conduction. It ensures that the fish cooks evenly, preventing those dreaded dry edges.

But as every baker or chef knows, ovens can be fickle friends. Each one has its quirks. That’s why, when I first try out a recipe, I always keep a watchful eye, checking in occasionally to ensure things are progressing nicely.

As I’ve learned from countless baking sessions, it’s about intuition as much as it is about precision. Knowing when your fish has achieved that perfect baked glory often comes from experience, from understanding the subtle signs – the golden hue, the easy flake, and the intoxicating aroma.

The Delicate Dance of Salting: Finding the Flavour Balance in Fish

Salt, such a simple, unassuming ingredient, yet its impact on any dish, especially something as delicate as fish, is profound. Throughout my culinary adventures, I’ve realized that while spices and seasonings bring depth and nuance to a dish, it’s salt that truly awakens and accentuates flavours.

When I salt my fish before baking, it’s not merely a matter of seasoning. The salt works to enhance the natural flavours of the fish.

You see, salt has this incredible ability to reduce bitterness and make sweet and savoury flavours pop. When I sprinkle that teaspoon of salt on my Baked Fish, I’m aiming for that flavour sweet spot – where every bite is a harmonious blend of the fish’s natural taste, combined with the medley of spices.

It’s also worth noting the transformative effects of salt in terms of texture. For fish, it helps in firming up the flesh, ensuring that the baked outcome is flaky yet moist. This delicate balance is the secret behind many celebrated fish dishes across global cuisines.

But as with any dance, there’s a rhythm, a balance that needs to be maintained. Over-salting is a pitfall that I’ve learned to avoid. It not only overpowers the natural flavour of the fish but can also leave one with a less than pleasant dining experience.

The Fiery Kick of Black Pepper: Not Just a Sidekick to Salt

Black pepper! If I had a penny for every time someone considered it just a table-side afterthought, I’d be quite wealthy by now. In my kitchen, black pepper is no mere sidekick to salt; it’s a star in its own right. Every time I twist that pepper mill over my Baked Fish, a world of flavour possibilities opens up.

Originating from the Malabar Coast of India, black pepper brings more than just heat to dishes. It introduces a warm, woody aroma and a spicy, pungent kick that can uplift any dish. When I pair it with fish, it cuts through the mildness, bringing a layer of complexity that’s hard to resist.

But there’s more to the black pepper story than just its fiery kick. Black pepper contains a compound called piperine. This nifty compound not only gives pepper its characteristic heat but also enhances the absorption of nutrients, making it a wonderful addition to any health-conscious kitchen.

Furthermore, the interplay of black pepper with other spices in the Baked Fish recipe creates a flavour tapestry. Its spiciness contrasts beautifully with the smoky sweetness of paprika and the mellow depth of garlic powder.

To draw the best from black pepper, I always recommend using freshly ground pepper. Pre-ground versions, while convenient, lack the vibrancy and potency of their freshly ground counterparts.

Every time I’m about to pop that fish into the oven, I give my pepper mill a few robust twists, releasing those aromatic oils and peppery fragments, ensuring that my dish has that perfect peppery punch.

The Aromatic Allure of Garlic Powder: Elevating Every Dish

Garlic, in any form, is a kitchen superstar. But garlic powder? Now, that’s a gem I have discovered over my cooking years. While fresh garlic brings a pungent zest, garlic powder offers a more mellow, consistent flavour, especially in baked dishes like my beloved Baked Fish.

Derived from ground dehydrated garlic cloves, garlic powder is the answer to all those times I wanted that garlic goodness without the associated prep time or pungency. The moment I sprinkle it onto my fish, it instantly adds an aromatic depth that’s hard to achieve with many other ingredients.

Now, let’s dive a bit into the why’s and how’s. When garlic is dehydrated and ground, it loses some of its natural sharpness but retains and even amplifies its sweet undertones. This subtle sweetness marries perfectly with fish, accentuating its natural flavours without overpowering them.

One of the aspects I deeply cherish about garlic powder is its versatility. Whether it’s sprinkled over pizzas, stirred into sauces, or mixed with other spices for a rub – like in my Baked Fish recipe – it’s a testament to the adaptability of this humble ingredient.

And, before I wrap up this ode to garlic powder, a quick note on its health benefits. Just like its fresh counterpart, garlic powder possesses allicin, a compound known for its health benefits, including boosting immunity and promoting heart health.

When I reach out for that jar of garlic powder, I know I’m not just adding an ingredient. I’m introducing a world of flavour and health into my dish, one sprinkle at a time.

The Smoky Notes of Paprika: A Spice That Speaks Volumes

Whenever I think about spices that effortlessly elevate a dish, paprika always comes to mind. It’s not just a spice; for me, it’s a culinary journey to the very heart of the Iberian Peninsula and the vibrant markets of Hungary.

When I dust my Baked Fish with a teaspoon of paprika, I’m drizzling a rich tapestry of history, culture, and flavour onto my plate.

Paprika is essentially dried and ground bell pepper or chili pepper. What many don’t realize is that paprika isn’t a one-note wonder. The varieties range from sweet to smoky to fiery hot.

Each variety, with its distinct character, can redefine a dish. In the case of my Baked Fish, I opt for the smoky variant, and here’s why.

The smokiness of paprika offers a beautiful contrast to the inherent mildness of fish.

It’s this juxtaposition of flavours – the gentle sweetness of fish and the deep, aromatic smokiness of paprika – that makes every bite a culinary symphony. It transports me, almost instantly, to the warm and cosy kitchens of Eastern Europe where paprika reigns supreme.

Healthwise, paprika packs a punch too. Rich in antioxidants, particularly vitamin E, it’s great for skin health. Plus, its anti-inflammatory properties are a boon for those looking to spice things up without the added guilt.

The Fiery Dance of Chilli Powder and Crushed Chillies

The thrill of heat! In my kitchen, I often find myself reaching for two heroes that never fail to bring that fiery zing: chilli powder and crushed chillies. Whether you want a subtle warmth or a roaring heat, these two ingredients can take a dish, like my Baked Fish, from ordinary to extraordinary.

Chilli powder, a blend of dried and ground chilli peppers (sometimes mixed with other spices), brings a consistent heat to dishes. It infuses them with a warmth that lingers.

On the other hand, crushed chillies, with their flaky texture and seeds intact, introduce a more intense, immediate heat. It’s not just about the spice; it’s about the texture, the burst of flavour, and the slight crunch they add.

Every time I sprinkle these over my fish before baking, I aim for a balanced heat. I want my guests to experience that delightful warmth without it overpowering the fish’s natural flavours. And trust me, getting that balance right, is an art.

There’s also a delightful visual aspect to using crushed chillies. Those tiny red flakes adorning the golden-brown fish are not just aesthetically pleasing; they signal the adventurous journey your taste buds are about to embark upon.

As for the health benefits, both these chili variants are rich in capsaicin, a compound known for its metabolism-boosting properties. So, while your mouth might be on fire, your metabolism is getting a little boost too.

Check Out These Other Recipes

After indulging in that delightful Baked Fish inspired by Indian flavours, I found myself falling deeper into the world of Indian cuisine. And if you’re anything like me, you’ll love these related dishes that share the same rich essence of Indian spices and traditions.

I once tried my hand at a Fish Curry, and let me tell you, it was an experience! The rich aromatic spices blending with the tender fish is something every seafood lover should venture into.

Another delightful twist I explored was Masala Fish; it’s got that spiced kick that tingles the taste buds just right. If you’re in the mood to switch to poultry but still keep that Indian essence alive, give Chicken Tikka Masala a whirl.

It’s creamy, spicy, and absolutely irresistible. And speaking of poultry, Chicken Hariyali added a beautiful green touch to my dinner spread with its herby goodness.

Of course, no Indian culinary journey is complete without the right accompaniment. So, when I made Tandoori Chicken, the charred flavours coupled with that signature marination transported me straight to the streets of Delhi.

Feel tempted? Dive into these recipes and relish the symphony of flavours. And, don’t forget, I’d love to hear your thoughts in the comments below. Which one caught your eye? Which one made you rush to the kitchen? Share your culinary adventures with me

Baked Fish

Baked Fish

by Nabeela Kauser
Tender, perfectly flaky baked cod fish and baked with an array of spices. One of the best and healthy fish recipes for dinner out there. A simple yet light weeknight meal.
5 from 107 votes
Prep Time 10 minutes
Cook Time 20 minutes
Total Time 30 minutes
Course Dinner, Main Course
Cuisine Indian, Pakistani
Servings 6
Calories 165 kcal

Ingredients

  • 6 pieces Fish Cod
  • Olive Oil
  • 1 tsp Salt
  • 1 tsp Black Pepper
  • 1 tsp Garlic Powder
  • 1 tsp Paprika
  • 1 tsp Chilli Powder
  • 1 tsp Crushed Chillies

Instructions

  • In a small bowl mix all the dry spices together until well combined
  • Dry the fish thoroughly then place onto a baking tray lined with foil
  • Drizzle the olive oil generously on top of the fish then brush all over before sprinkling on the spice mixture and pat it into the fish before repeating the same process on the other side
  • Bake for 15-20 minutes on 200°C (400°F) gas mark 6 until the fish is cooked through
  • Serve with a side of salad and enjoy!

Video

Notes

Nutritional facts:
The provision of nutritional information is done merely as a courtesy and should not be taken as a guarantee.

Nutrition

Calories: 165kcalCarbohydrates: 1gProtein: 25gFat: 7gSaturated Fat: 1gCholesterol: 63mgSodium: 464mgPotassium: 403mgFibre: 0.4gSugar: 0.1gVitamin A: 225IUVitamin C: 1mgVitamin D: 4µgCalcium: 17mgIron: 1mg
Keyword Baked, Fish, Healthy, Recipe, Seafood, Spicy
Tried this recipe?Mention @CookwithNabeela or tag #CookwithNabeela!

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Latest comments (12)

Nabeela Kauser

Thanks for trying my Baked Fish recipe! I’m glad you enjoyed it. Let me know if you have any questions or if there’s anything else you’d like to try.

5 stars
Calories: 165kcal Carbohydrates: 1g Protein: 25g Fat: 7g Saturated Fat: 1g Cholesterol: 63mg Sodium: 464mg Potassium: 403mg Fiber: 0.4g Sugar: 0.1g Vitamin A: 225IU Vitamin C: 1mg Vitamin D: 4µg Calcium: 17mg Iron: 1mg

Cook with Nabeela

Hi, I'm Nabeela!

I love to cook! I want to share with you my favourite, delicious family-friendly recipes. I want to inspire you to create fantastic food for your family every day.

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