New England style breaded baked fish is a classic for a reason – it's simple, comforting, and if you grew up in these parts, it’s nostalgic, too. But there’s nothing wrong with messing around with a classic to improve it a little bit. This dish does that – it packs in extra flavor by adding cheese, garlic, and cayenne. But no matter how spicy you like it, it’s still a nice baked fish like Grandma used to make.
1 cup crushed Ritz crackers
¼ cup crushed fried onions (the kind in a can)
1 clove garlic, peeled and minced
2 tablespoons finely grated parmesan cheese (or whatever hard cheese you have, pecorino, even Gruyere would work well)
Pinch cayenne pepper
1 tablespoon unsalted butter, for the pan
1 pound haddock
Salt, to taste
Freshly ground black pepper, to taste
2 tablespoons mayonnaise
Combine cracker crumbs, onions, garlic, cheese, and cayenne in a small bowl and set aside.
Set the oven to 375°F. Butter a 9-by-11-inch baking dish and nestle in the fish. Spread the surface of the fish with the mayonnaise and top with a generous layer of the cracker mixture. Bake for about 15 minutes until golden and crisp and the fish is cooked through. Serve with lemon wedges for squeezing over the top.
Photo credit David Kadlec