Crunchy Pecan Baked Fish

*crossposted (from awhile ago) from Seven Deadly Divas*

This is a good “weeknight” recipe – you can put the frozen fish in the fridge the night before (please put it in a bowl, so you don’t have thawing fish goo all over your fridge) and it’ll be thawed when you go to make it. Or, if you’re like me and never remember to thaw stuff out the night before, put the fish fillets in a sealed zip-top bag and put them in a sink full of cold water for 20-30 minutes.

Since it’s basically “dump stuff in pan and bake”, you don’t need to worry about a lot of prep time, and it cooks quickly. While it’s cooking, microwave some frozen veggies or toss together a salad and you’ve got a complete dinner in about 20 minutes.

Software:

  • 4 Fillets of White Fish – I usually use frozen cod loins*, but tilapia or flounder work fine
  • Cajun Seasoning and Salt – like Emeril’s Essence – or my personal favorite, Mo’s Mix**
  • Mayonnaise – olive or canola oil mayo, if you are worried about calories, but please, no fat free
  • Bread Crumbs – unseasoned
  • Parmesan Cheese
  • Finely Chopped Pecans – you can buy the pecan “cookie pieces” if you don’t want to chop them yourself

Hardware:

Aluminum foil, non-stick cooking spray, a baking pan, spatula, mixing bowl, oven.

The Plan:

Preheat the oven to 500 degrees Fahrenheit. Line the baking pan with foil and spray with non-stick spray.

Place the fish fillets on the foil so that they are not touching. Season with Cajun Seasoning – but be careful if you don’t like things to be too spicy. I usually start with one good pinch per fillet and go from there. Using the spatula, spread each seasoned fillet with 1-2 TBSP mayo (you don’t have to measure, 1-2 TBSP mostly means “a good spoonful”).

In a small bowl, mix about 1/2 cup each of parmesan, pecans, and breadcrumbs. Smush the breadcrumb/pecan mixture into the fish fillets. Some of it will not stick, and that’s OK.

Bake at 500F for 8-12 minutes or until the fish is done – it will be white (and not transparent) and flake easily with a fork if you try to poke at the middles. When serving, make sure that everyone gets their share of the pan-goodies. Alternately, serve the fish up in the kitchen, eat the pan-goodies with a spoon, and don’t tell anyone.

This is excellent with baked artichoke hearts or lemon and garlic brussels sprouts if you’re feeling fancy, or just some re-heated frozen broccoli or green beans. If you prefer your meals with a grain, brown rice would be a good complement, as would some (previously frozen) whole-grain rolls… but bread-making is a whole different set of posts!

*Cod loins. Heh. Heh heh.
** The Amazing Becky has found Mo’s Mix online, at a store in Missouri. I think I have to call them to order more. But still – Yay!

Anna’s Great-Nana’s Banana Nut Bread

One of my wedding gifts from my Nana (my dad’s mother) was a collection of her favorite recipes to add to my recipe box. They’re not the recipes I make all the time – most of them are desserts and special occasion foods – but some of them are real treasures.

I occasionally, like many people, purchase too many bananas. I eat them frequently, but some weeks I end up forgetting about them until they start to be past their raw-eating-prime. (AKA they turn black and smushy)

Usually when this happens, I make smoothies.

At one point, however, I decided to see if I had a good banana bread recipe around. While digging through my recipe box, I came across one in my Nana’s handwriting, but the recipe isn’t hers. The recipe belonged to her mother in law, my Great-Nana Erma Martoccio, who lived in New York in the early 1900’s. She is largely responsible for my Nana being an amazing cook, since my Nana is a farm girl from rural Tennessee and only comes by her Italian cooking by marriage.

It’s a very simple recipe, with no particularly special ingredients, but the bread is spectacular. (It is neither low fat nor low calorie, but this is special-occasion bread.)

Anna’s Great-Nana’s Banana Nut Bread
Recipe courtesy of Erma Martoccio

Hardware:

  • Two regular loaf pans or three “small” loaf pans
  • A mixer
  • A large bowl, a small bowl, the usual assortment of measuring cups, a spatula

Software:

  • 3/4 c. butter
  • 1 1/2c. sugar
  • 1 1/2c. mashed ripe bananas (3-4 medium)
  • 1 1/2 tsp vanilla
  • 2 eggs, well beaten
  • 1/2 c. buttermilk, divided
  • 2 c. flour, divided
  • 1 tsp baking soda
  • Optional: 3/4 c. chopped nuts (I use pecans)
  • Optional: 1/2 c. semi-sweet chocolate chips

I also usually make this in my stand mixer with the paddle attachment, but you can easily do it with a hand mixer and a spatula.

The Program:

  1. Preheat oven to 325F. Grease the bottoms only of your loaf pans with non-stick spray or butter. I use three 1.2 quart Pyrex glass loaf pans (they have red lids, and are, I think, storage dishes, but they bake just fine).
  2. Cream together the butter and the sugar. While the mixer is going, crack the eggs into a small bowl and beat with a fork.
  3. Blend in the mashed bananas, beaten eggs, and vanilla
  4. Add, in order and mixing on low speed in between, 1/4c. buttermilk, 1 cup flour, 1 tsp baking soda, 1/4c. butter milk and the final cup of flour.
  5. With the spatula, gently mix in the nuts and chocolate chips, if using.
  6. Divide the batter evenly between the loaf pans.
  7. If using two 9×5 loaf pans, bake for 70-75 minutes. If using three smaller loaf pans, bake for 50-55 minutes. A toothpick inserted into the center should come out clean, and the loaves should be golden brown and delicious. The tops of the loaves may crack – that’s OK (even desirable).

This recipe freezes well and will keep in the refrigerator (cooled completely and wrapped well) for at least a week or two… but it never lasts that long in my house. The chocolate chips are my own idea and not in the original recipe, but they are quite a delicious addition, if I do say so myself.

Enjoy!