Baked Fish with Almond, Panko, Parmesan Crust
This baked fish recipe is easy and versatile. It works well with just about any fish, including cod, halibut and salmon. Best of all, it comes together in under half an hour.
Inspiration for this Baked FishThis recipe was inspired by a recipe sent to me by my friend Sue. The recipe was developed by Emily at Layers of Happiness. My ingredients and cooking instructions are a little different, but I credit Emily at Layers of Happiness for the concept and overall technique. It is a winner!
Extremely Versatile RecipeThis baked fish recipe is almost more versatile than I can describe. Here are some of the swaps you can make:
Use just about any fishYou can make this with cod, halibut, salmon, chilean sea bass or snapper. Just look for fillets that are close to an inch thick. You can go thicker and it will be delicious; you will just need to extend the cooking time a bit.
No fish?You can also substitute chicken cutlets for the fish if you choose. Just double check with an instant read thermometer to make sure the chicken is cooked through. It may take a little more than 10 minutes, depending on the thickness of your chicken.
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Gluten-free or low carb?Just skip the panko or use gluten-free panko.
Dairy-free?Skip the parmesan cheese.
Nut allergies?Skip the almonds and double the panko if you have nut allergies.
No almonds on hand?Substitute walnuts, pecans, hazelnuts, pistachios or macadamia nuts for the almonds.
No basil?Substitute parsley, cilantro, tarragon, chervil, mint or oregano.
No lemons?Substitute limes, grapefruit or oranges.
No mustard?Substitute mayonnaise. The function of the mustard is to add flavor and help the crust to adhere to the fish. Mayonnaise will not add a lot of flavor, but it will keep the fish moist and help the crust stick to the fillets.
No pesto?No problem. Serve with just a squeeze of lemon or lime or dress with a little chimichurri sauce or salsa. Or make up a batch of my Basil and Spinach Pesto to use as a garnish.
Possible Combinations for this Baked Fish RecipeWhen making substitutes be mindful of your combinations; some will be better than others. Here are some combos I think will work well:
- Halibut, walnuts, orange, basil, mustard and garnish with pesto
- Salmon, pistachios, lemon or grapefruit and chives or chervil and mayo to help the crust adhere
- Chicken, pecans, lemon, parsley and mustard
- Snapper, almonds, lime, cilantro or oregano and garnish with salsa
- Chilean sea bass, macadamia nuts, lime and mint
ToolsA Cuisinart Mini-Prep or a food processor will make quick work of preparing the crust. The Mini-Preps come in 3 and 4-cup versions. I have an extra large food processor so I prefer the smaller, 3-cup Mini-Prep for my small jobs like this baked fish crust. If you do not have a full-size food processor, I would consider the 4-cup version. For this recipe, I also use a fine microplane to zest the lemon. Finely zested citrus is a great way to get low calorie flavor into almost any dish, from sweet to savory. Both these tools are frequent-use tools that save you time.
Baked Fish is So Easy!Place a sheet of parchment paper in a baking pan and drizzle with olive oil. Place fish on paper skin-side down and season with salt and pepper. Make your crust in a Cuisinart Mini-Prep or full-sized food processor. Spread mustard on each fillet and press the crust mixture onto the top of the fish. Bake for 10 minutes and garnish with pesto if you like. Or simply serve with a lemon wedge.
Leftover Baked Fish Crust Mixture?This recipe makes a little more crust mixture than you need for two fillets. You can probably stretch it to four fillets in a pinch. I like to hang onto the extra crust mixture and use it to top roasted vegetables, particularly roasted asparagus, broccoli, cauliflower or Brussels sprouts. Just sprinkle on the last minute or two of roasting time. Keep a keen eye on the crumb-sprinkled vegetables to make sure they don't burn. So the great thing about this fast and easy baked fish recipe is not only do you get a healthy and delicious main course one night, but the leftover crust mixture will help you quickly knock out some killer veggies a night or two later.
Baked Fish with Almond, Parmesan, Panko Crust
Yield 2 servings
Easy and versatile baked fish can be adapted for nearly any dietary restrictions and comes together in under 30 minutes for a quick weeknight meal.
For the crust:
- 1/2 cup whole blanched almonds or slivered almonds
- 3 T grated parmesan cheese
- 1/4 cup panko
- Zest from 1/2 cup lemon
- 4 - 5 leaves of fresh basil or 1 t dried basil
- 2 T olive oil
For the fish:
- 2 6 to 8-ounce, 3/4 to 1" thick fish fillets (cod, halibut, salmon or snapper)
- Kosher salt and fresh ground pepper
- 4 teaspoons of dijon mustard
- 3 T homemade or store-bought pesto (optional)
- Lemon wedges for serving
For the crust:
- Heat the oven to 400 degrees. In a Mini-prep or full-size food processor, add almonds and pulse until coarsely chopped. Don't whirl too much or you will get almond butter. Add parmesan cheese, panko, lemon zest and basil leaves. Pulse again to combine. Don't over process. Add olive oil and pulse once or twice to incorporate. Set aside.
For the fish:
- Dry fish thoroughly. Season with kosher salt and pepper and place on a lightly oiled baking sheet. If there is skin on your fish, place the skin side down. Brush each fillet with 2 teaspoons of mustard. Press the crust mixture over the top of each fillet. Bake in the oven for 10 minutes (for 3/4" to 1" thick fish). Do not over bake or fish will be dry. If the crust is not toasted to your liking, you can broil it briefly to toast, but keep your eye on the fish checking every minute so it doesn't burn.
- Remove the fish from the oven, plate it and serve with lemon wedges and an optional dressing of pesto.
- This recipe is very flexible for a variety of diets. If you have nut allergies skip the almonds and add a little more panko. If you have dairy allergies, skip the parmesan. If you have gluten issues, skip the panko or use gluten-free panko.
- You may have extra crumb mixture. Hang on to it and use it to put over roasted vegetables such as asparagus, broccoli, Brussels sprouts or cauliflower. when the vegetables are 3 minutes from being done, sprinkle with the leftover crumb mixture and finish in a hot 400 degree oven. Alternatively, you can broil, briefly to toast, just keep a close eye on them so they don't burn.