Thursday, July 17, 2014

Baked Fish

Fresh fish, trout pictured here, seasoned simply with salt, pepper, Cajun seasoning and Old Bay, drizzled with butter and dusted with lemon zest, baked and garnished with sliced green onion and fresh parsley. Works well with many fish. Served here with Southern style green beans and parslied potatoes.

Baked Fish

You'll notice that despite being a Mississippi Gulf Coast gal, you don't see a lot of recipes on here for fish. It's not because we don't eat it - we do! Every chance we get. While Mondays are always red beans and rice here in the Deep South, Fridays mean fish, or at least seafood of some kind, thanks to our heavy Catholic population and abundant access to it.

Heck, I'm not even above cleaning them, and the basic rule is that if you catch them, you clean them, and well... it's not a pretty job, though the end result is, of course, fabulous. If you're too skittish for all that, the local fishmongers will sell them to you already cleaned and filleted.

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If the only fish you've ever eaten comes in a box or plastic bag from the freezer section of your grocery store though, and you've never had a fresh caught fish right out of our own Gulf, well... you haven't really eaten fish in my little ole humble opinion.

First off, the majority of those cheap frozen fish y'all are buying aren't even from the good ole U.S. of A. and not a single one of them can hold a candle to the taste of a wild caught fish gotten off the shores of the United States. Flip the package and somewhere there on the bottom back of your package, you'll find the country of origin. Ten to one, I'm guessing you'll find an Asian source. It's apples and oranges as far as quality and taste go, and I guarantee you one thing for true - our Gulf Coast fish is superb.

If you ever come here to any of the states along the Gulf Coast, and most especially my home state of Mississippi, I insist that you find a restaurant that serves Gulf seafood. There are, sadly, some here who do not.

The Cajun and I recently went to a new restaurant, right on the Biloxi beach, and we were sadly disappointed. My husband's shrimp po'boy was made with {gasp} tiny, popcorn shrimp, of all things, the soft shell crabs on my po'boy were minuscule and frankly tasteless and while luckily, the oysters seemed to be fresh, they sure didn't know how to properly shuck them and it wasn't even done in front, at the bar, but somewhere in the recesses of the restaurant kitchen. That is not a representation of our amazing Gulf seafood by any means.

Luckily, as of this writing, we are in the midst of the "Summer of Seafood" sponsored by the Mississippi Hospitality and Restaurant Association. Through August 15, 2014 they are running a Mississippi Gulf Seafood Trail campaign - "40 restaurants, 62 miles of Mississippi coastline, one great seafood adventure."

Find out more by visiting their website where you can search for restaurants according to what your current seafood crave is, simply browse through them, and get social to find out when to share your #seafoodselfie for a chance to win prizes! Visit these restaurants to ensure that you are indeed being served bonafide seafood, right from our Gulf of Mexico.

While just like everybody else, I truly enjoy fish pan-seared or fried and topped with rich seafood sauces, stuffed with a blend of crab and shrimp, and, of course, fried, my most favorite way to eat fresh fish from the Gulf is like this - baked, nicely seasoned with a little salt, fresh cracked pepper, Old Bay, some Cajun seasoning, a little fresh parsley and green onion, pure butter and fresh lemon. That's it and it's how I prepare fresh fish most often - it's easy and it's tasty.

Here's how I do it.

These are some beautiful speckled trout fillets - my favorite fish! I use this method for all kinds of fish and fillets though. Because this was fish that I purchased fresh but had something interfere with my preparing them right away, I froze them. I like to soak fish in milk or buttermilk for about an hour anytime that they are frozen because it seems to kinda help bring them back to life. This is helpful for any frozen fish really, especially those packaged ones that are sort of "fishy" when you open them. If you're using any kind of frozen fish, do this milk soak first.

When you're ready to cook, preheat oven to 375 degrees F. Brush a foil lined baking sheet with olive oil. Drain fish, pat dry and place onto the baking sheet. In a small bowl, combine the salt, pepper, Old Bay and Cajun seasoning; set aside.

Mix olive oil with melted butter.  Brush trout with the half of the olive oil butter blend, reserving the remainder. Sprinkle seasoning mixture evenly on top.

Use a microplane to zest a lemon on top of the fish and bake, uncovered, at 375 degrees F for approximately 8 to 10 minutes per inch of thickness, or until fish is mostly opaque throughout, taking care not to overcook. Use the tip of a sharp knife to barely cut into the thickest part of the fish to check. Actual time will be dependent on the size and thickness of the fillets.

Drizzle reserved butter mixture on top of each fillet, sprinkle with green onion and parsley; serve immediately.

These make excellent fish for tacos too, by the way.

Disclaimer: I'm not at all affiliated with the MHRA, the Mississippi Seafood Trail or any of the associated restaurants. I'm just an immensely proud Biloxi girl who has loved our Gulf seafood all of my life and I want you to know where to go when you visit our beautiful Mississippi Gulf Coast to ensure that you receive the real deal, fresh from the Gulf, when you order seafood here.

For more of my favorite fish recipes, visit my page on Pinterest!

If you make this or any of my recipes, I'd love to see your results! Just snap a photo and hashtag it #DeepSouthDish on social media or tag me @deepsouthdish on Instagram!


Recipe: Baked Fish

©From the Kitchen of Deep South Dish
Prep time: 10 min |Cook time: 10 min | Yield: About 4 to 6 servings

  • 4 to 6 large speckled trout fillets or other whitefish*
  • 1 tablespoon olive oil
  • 1/4 cup of unsalted butter, melted
  • 1/2 teaspoon of kosher salt, or to taste
  • 1/4 teaspoon freshly cracked black pepper
  • 1 teaspoon Old Bay seasoning
  • 1 teaspoon of Creole or Cajun seasoning (like Slap Ya Mama), or to taste, optional
  • Zest of one lemon
  • 1 tablespoon of sliced green onion
  • 2 teaspoons of chopped fresh parsley
  • 1 lemon, cut into wedges

Preheat oven to 375 degrees F. Brush a foil lined baking sheet with olive oil. Drain fish, pat dry and place onto the baking sheet. In a small bowl, combine the salt, pepper, Old Bay and Cajun seasoning; set aside. Mix 1 tablespoon of olive oil with melted butter. Brush trout with the half of the olive oil butter blend, reserving the remainder. Sprinkle seasoning mixture evenly on top.

Use a microplane to zest lemon on top of the fish and bake, uncovered, at 375 degrees F for approximately 8 to 10 minutes per inch of thickness, or until fish is mostly opaque throughout and flakes easily, taking care not to overcook. Test in the thickest part of the fillet with the tip of a sharp knife. Actual time will be dependent on the size and thickness of the fillets. Drizzle reserved butter mixture on top of each fillet, sprinkle with green onion and parsley; serve immediately.

Cook's Notes: If you're using frozen fish or fresh fish that you've frozen, cover in milk and refrigerate for an hour to freshen it before cooking. *This is also a suitable method for many different fish fillets including catfish, flounder, cod, halibut, perch, tilapia and other similar whitefish.


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Posted by on July 17, 2014
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  1. Replies
    1. Thanks! It's a very simple but great method to cook fish. Hope you try it sometime!!

  2. Many years ago I came across a recipe for baked fish in aluminum foil. Couple filets covered with lemon-butter sauce, flaked or whole parsely, wrapped tight for 30 mins at 350. Delish.

  3. I make a lot of baked fish. Usually walleye ( what my husband catches) Great recipe. Hugs P.S. I invite you to share your post at my blog hop ( you can link up through Sat)

  4. !! I miss fresh gulf fish!! I used to live in SW FL and the fresh fish (and produce) is something I seriously miss. Living back up in Canada is great but I do miss the fish. Did I mention how much I miss the fish? I do. Thanks for this recipe!

  5. Sometimes when I read your beautifully written prose it brings back old memories and tastes so strongly I just want to get in my car and drive back. There REALLY is nothing like Mississippi Gulf Coast fish, shrimp, oysters, crabs, and Bastian Bay crawfish.

    Most people don't know that we have a Sound. There are three major rivers that empty into the Mississippi Sound, Wolf River, Pascagoula River, and Tchoutacabouffa River . The fresh water is trapped in the Sound by the barrier Islands and gives the seafood a taste like no where else in the World. Our soft shell crabs are distinctive. Even the gators taste better lol and the channel cats that hang out where the fresh meets the salt.

    You aren't making anything up when you say Mississippi Gulf Coast seafood is superb. We even cook it better down there lol. I've noticed that on the East Coast (where they have ocean shore) they seem to have a tendency to over cook EVERYTHING. They take wonderful, succulent shrimp and boil it, or saute it or grill it, til it has the consistency of rubber. The poor fish never has a chance. It's cooked until all the flavor and texture are gone and it's dry. How do you make (or eat) DRY fish? Poor, unlucky States that have no Coastline, like the Midwest and such, I can understand them being confused, but when you can go catch it yourself just to ruin it? Never figured it out.........

    I've been telling the girls I was gonna go show them God's Country, the big one (Mrs) for over 20 years and the little one since she could talk. That Seafood Trail seems to be just the excuse I've been looking for. I tried to see if they still had the Crawfish Festival in Gulfport on Memorial Day, and the Fishing Rodeo on the 4th of July, but sadly it seems they have passed on. I'm a little scared to go back and see how the Casino's and outsiders have ruined things. I haven't been back since before the first Casino was built. Kept meaning to, just haven't made it. Heck when I left I-10 wasn't built all the way to Florida. Remember the Robert E. Lee Showboat? The "floating" night club, 18 year old drinking age and drivers licenses with no pictures on them lol?

    Ah, those were the days.........


    1. I love so much reading your comments! Thanks for sharing your memories. Of COURSE I remember the rush to hit 18 :) so we would be legal, the Robert E. Lee - air guitar anybody? the Fiesta and free beer night - and the drivers licenses, although with no photo, I'm pretty sure by the age of 16 everybody had a fake one anyway LOL!!

      The Coast has changed quite a bit since you've been here, but the charm is still with us I think. The Crawfish Festival is at the Coast Coliseum now & runs for 2 extended weekends in a row & the Fishing Rodeo is still here on the weekend of the 4th, but after Katrina, moved around a bit until Jones Park finally got rebuilt & is now back there. We are slowly getting back but Katrina knocked us down pretty hard so it's been quite slow going. Praying for no more hurricanes here in my lifetime!

  6. Hello Mary, I was searching recipes for fish (cod)because I don't have any pre-made coatings/batter. Sure as heck I see your recipe & It's perfect. Thanks p.s. I don't think I'll ever buy another pre-made ix again. Do you have one that has cornmeal in it?

    1. Hey Michael! Somehow I missed this comment until now. I actually do have a basic cornmeal breading here that I use the most. It's got a little bit of flour, but sometimes I just use all cornmeal.

  7. This is my go to baked fish recipe... Thank you so much.
    I use crappy, catfish, bass, just about any fish. I do use a bit more Slap ya momma, we like it spicy.

    1. Thanks Jeannette! I'm so glad you're enjoying this one. I sure do!! When I write my recipes, I try to keep the Cajun at a minimum measurement - enough to give it a bit of flavor but not too much heat for the readers who are new to using it. I pretty much use more myself than what I publish, so I understand that! In fact, sometimes I still get a teeny bit carried away with it lol!! Thanks so much for stopping by and leaving a comment. I appreciate that!

  8. Just made this tonight! Because it either rare or expensive to get fresh seafood where we live now(I miss living on the Gulf!), I don't cook it very much. It usually ends up being frozen--but the milk/buttermilk soak idea is GREAT! My brother would do it for his fresh venison and it made a huge difference in removing the 'gamie-ness, I never thought of or heard about doing it for seafood until now! So I used cod for this recipe after doing the soak in milk(seasoned with garlic salt & pepper, figured it couldn't hurt) I didn't use full amount of seasoning mix because I only had 2 fillets, but next time I will. I just poured some of the butter/oil mixture on the pan and coated both sides then seasoned both sides. After zesting, I squeezed on some juice and placed lemon halves on sheet, rubbing the oil mixture on cut ends. I cooked them for 15 mins. I only had dried parsley so I reheated oil mixture and added the parsley, poured over tops and squeezed on more juice. This was the best fish I've EVER cooked! This will be a go-to recipe for now on! Oh, I also added some of the oil mixture&juice to a boxed olive oil and herb pasta, it definitely took it up a few notches! You never disappoint Mary! Thanks again! Marie M. in GA


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