Lighter Oven-Fried Fish

(from jerseyjenny’s recipe box)

Catfish, trout, haddock, thick sole fillets, or tilapia can be substituted for the cod. Stay away from very delicate fillets or thick, meaty fish such as swordfish or tuna. If some of the pieces have thin, tapered ends, tuck them under before breading to prevent them from overcooking and drying out. Generously coat the fish with the Melba crumbs, but do not pile them on or they will not adhere to the fish; there will be crumbs left over. Serve with Tartar Sauce, (see related recipe).

This recipe was published in our cookbook The Best Light Recipe.

Source: Cook's Illustrated E-Notes April 2007

Prep time: 15 minutes
Cook time: 15 minutes
Serves 4 people

Categories: Cook's Illustrated, dinner, fish


  • 1 (5-ounce) box plain Melba toast , broken into 1-inch pieces
  • 2 tablespoons vegetable oil
  • 3 large egg whites
  • 1 tablespoon Dijon mustard
  • 2 teaspoons minced fresh thyme leaves
  • 1/4 teaspoon garlic powder
  • 1/8 teaspoon cayenne pepper
  • 4 1-inch-thick cod fillets (about 6 ounces each)
  • Vegetable cooking spray
  • Table salt and ground black pepper
  • 1 lemon , cut into wedges for serving


  1. Adjust an oven rack to the upper-middle position and heat the oven to 450 degrees. Cover a baking sheet with foil and place a wire rack on top. Process the Melba toast into coarse crumbs in a food processor, about twelve 1-second pulses. Spread the crumbs in a shallow dish and toss with the oil.

  2. In a separate shallow dish, whisk the egg whites, mustard, thyme, garlic powder, and cayenne together.

  3. Pat the cod dry with paper towels then season with salt and pepper. Working with one piece of fish at a time, dip it into the egg white mixture, then coat with the Melba crumbs. Press on the Melba crumbs to make sure they adhere to the fish. Lay the coated fish onto the prepared wire rack and spray the tops with vegetable oil spray.

  4. Bake until the coating is golden and the fish just flakes apart, 12 to 15 minutes. Serve with the lemon wedges and Tartar Sauce.

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