Baked Fish with Fresh Herbs and Bread Crumbs
adapted by There's Always Thyme to Cook
2 tablespoons minced fresh parsley leaves
2 tablespoons minced fresh chives
2 tablespoons minced fresh tarragon leaves
finely grated zest from 1 lemon
juice of the zested lemon
5 tablespoons unsalted butter, cut into pieces
3 medium garlic cloves, minced or pressed through garlic press (about 2 teaspoons)
6 sole or flounder fillets (boneless and skinless, use fresh, not frozen) or tilapia
kosher salt and ground black pepper
1 tablespoon Dijon mustard
2/3 cup panko bread crumbs
lemon wedges, for serving
toothpicks, to hold the fish roll closed if you use tilapia
Preheat oven to 350 degrees.
Combine parsley, chives, and tarragon in small bowl. Reserve 1 tablespoon of the herb mixture and set aside for bread crumbs. Stir lemon zest into remaining herbs.
Heat 4 tablespoons butter in a small skillet over medium heat until just melted. Add 2 teaspoons minced garlic and cook, stirring frequently, until fragrant, about 2 minutes. Set skillet aside off heat.
Pat fillets dry with paper towels. Season both sides with salt and pepper. Turn fillets skinned side up with tail end pointing away from you. Spread 1/2 teaspoon mustard on each fillet, sprinkle each with about 1 tablespoon herb–lemon zest mixture, and drizzle each with fillet with about 1 1/2 teaspoons garlic butter. Tightly roll fillets from the thick end to form rolls. Set fillets seam side down in 13 by 9-inch baking dish. Squeeze the lemon juice over each fillet. If using a thicker fish like Tilapia, use toothpicks to skewer them closed. Drizzle remaining garlic butter over fillets, cover baking dish with aluminum foil, and bake 30 minutes.
Add remaining tablespoon of butter to the skillet and melt over medium heat. Add panko and cook, stirring frequently, until crumbs are deep golden brown, 5 to 8 minutes. Reduce heat to low, add remaining teaspoon minced garlic, and cook, stirring constantly, until garlic is fragrant and evenly distributed in crumbs, about 1 to 2 minutes. Transfer to small bowl, stir in salt and pepper to taste. Let it cool. When it's cooled, stir in the reserved herb mixture.
After fillets have baked about 30 minutes, remove the baking dish from the oven. Baste fillets with the garlic butter from baking dish, sprinkle with all but 3 tablespoons bread crumbs, and continue to bake, uncovered, until internal temperature registers about 135 degrees on instant-read thermometer, about 10 minutes longer. Using a thin spatula, transfer fillets to individual plates, squeeze a little lemon juice over the fish, drizzle with any melted butter left in the dish, sprinkle with remaining bread crumbs, and serve with lemon wedges. Make sure you remember to TAKE THE TOOTHPICKS OUT, if using!
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