For as long as I can remember the official kick-off to the holidays at my house has been marked by serving a multi-course smorgasbord of fish and seafood on Christmas Eve.
Now if you’re like me, someone who actually prefers fish to any other kind of protein, this is like a dinner dream come true but for many sitting around the table, eating a meal consisting of multiple courses of fish does not appear very high at the top of their holiday wish list (it’s been described to me kinda like a visit to the dentist; yes it’s a tough crowd sometimes).
As the cook, the ultimate satisfaction is achieved when you create a menu that ensures everyone has a dish of food they enjoy and devour. With lukewarm fish fans, this is always a challenge, but we do have one recipe that appears on our table without fail year after year.
I am a BIG, BIG fan of this recipe, and it’s been a family secret for years and years. My Dad is a die-hard fisherman, and this is one of his go-to, old faithful favourites for a couple of important reasons. Fish is a fussy protein, and having a recipe that ensures you get moist, tender, flaky fish all the time is kind of a rarity. This appears on my dinner table atleast once a week, it is wild and locally sourced which means it’s super healthy, low in fat and great for our local economy. It is a lake-fish and a small fish, which means its environmentally friendly on the totem pole of fish choices. And it is really easy and fast to prepare. All great reasons to try it.
Most importantly, it tastes over-the-top delicious. Light, moist, very delicate and not so fishy (for all those lukewarm fish lovers) and finished with a crispy-crunchy coating, it will disappear from your table. Visit your local Sobeys fish counter and ask for it. You will love it too!!
Crispy Crusted Great Lakes Pickerel
1 lb Ontario Great Lakes Pickerel filets
season with salt and pepper
1 large (or 2 small) clove(s) crushed garlic
salt and pepper to taste
3/4 cups whole wheat bread crumbs
2 tbsps chopped parsley
2 tbsps olive oil
1. Make sure to have the skin and all pin bones removed when you pick up your fish.
2. Slice each filet into 3 inc pieces. Salt and pepper the filets to taste.
3. Preheat the oven to broil and take your oven grill and move it to the slot second from the top. This step is critical. If you broil the fish on the highest slot, the breadcrumbs will burn before the fish can cook.
3. Mix coating; add garlic, salt and pepper, parsley and olive oil to breadcrumbs and mix thoroughly using a fork. Mixture should have a course texture, like wet sand.
4. Take each piece of fish and place into the breadcrumb mixture. Press the breadcrumbs onto the fish filet. Repeat on the other side.
5. Gently place the fish pieces onto a foil lined baking tray.
6. Place the tray in the oven on broil. (remember to follow step number three and adjust the grill placement).
7. Broil the fish filets on high for 5 minutes or until breadcrumbs are browned.
8. Use a fork or a spatula to turn the fish over and continue to broil for another 3-4 minutes until equally browned.
9. Remove from oven, and place on a serving dish.
10. Garnish with lemon or tartar sauce and serve immediately.
11. We love to serve this with a very traditional Italian side dish consisting of a salad of boiled potatoes and radicchio lightly dressed with an olive oil and balsamic vinegar dressing.
12. Done! Enjoy!
Do you have a family holiday recipe that everyone should try? Take the #BetterFoodForAll Challenge with Sobeys and you could win $1,000 in groceries! Or follow the #BetterFoodForAll hashtag on Twitter and Instagram for more holiday recipe inspiration from Canadians.