This is definitely, by far, the thing you should be making tonight for dinner. Or tomorrow.
Or for Valentine’s Day.
It’s REALLY good.
My super outdoorsy friend Weston goes on fishing trips in Alaska, and he brought over some halibut for us to cook earlier this week. The parmesan and dill preparation was something he’d had in Alaska at a restaurant, so he described it to me and this is what I came up with.
It was SO good and easy!
The pictures here are for 6 large pieces of fish, but the ingredients below are written for 4 portions – increase or decrease accordingly!
- 4 white fish filets, about an inch thick. Halibut, cod, sea bass, or any very firm white fish is fabulous.
- salt and pepper
- 1/2 cup panko bread crumbs
- 1/2 cup grated parmesan cheese (the stuff in a jar is fine unless you’re just dying to spend money on something freshly grated)
- 1 tablespoon butter
- 1/2 cup sour cream
- 1/4 cup mayonnaise
- splash heavy cream or half and half
- one lemon
- 1 clove garlic
- 2 tablespoons chopped fresh dill, plus more for serving
I made the sauce first so it could get super duper flavorful for awhile before we ate.
To a bowl, add the sour cream, mayo, and heavy cream. Then, using a teeny grater, grate in the garlic and lemon zest.
If you don’t have a handheld grater you can zest the garlic and lemon on the side of a box grater or just mince it really finely – no worries either way.
Save the lemon for serving, and mince up lots and lots of dill – it’s the star of the show here!
Add the dill to the lemon/garlic/cream mixture with a sprinkle of salt and pepper, then stir everything together.
I got excited after the first stir and added more dill and pepper. Taste your dip and add more of whatever you’d like, though! Keep in mind that the garlic flavor will get a lot stronger as the dip sits, so don’t add more of that.
Yum. Keep the dill sauce in the fridge while you get the fish ready.
Incidentally, the dill sauce can be used as a veggie dip – who needs packaged ranch when you have THIS?
Now, for the fish. Preheat the oven to 400F and pat the fish very dry with paper towels, then salt both sides.
I’m using a cooking rack IN a baking sheet to bake this fish, but you can use just a baking sheet, or a broiler pan, or whatever works for you.
Seriously, look at this fish.
So. Good. Now, for the filling:
So easy! Melt a tablespoon of butter in a bowl, then add the panko, cheese, and pepper. Mix it all together lightly with a fork.
I ate about three forkfuls of this. Sorry about that.
Divide the topping evenly among the fish, then press it evenly into the top of the fish with your fingers – no need to kill it, just be sure it won’t fall off.
Nice! NOW, at this point you’re ready to cook the fish. However, you could make the dip a day in advance and put the crust on the fish hours before you cook it to give you time to take a shower, clean your house, make side dishes, or drink 8 glasses of boxed wine.
What I’m saying is, you can do this in advance.
When you’re ready to cook the fish, bake it for 10-15 minutes until the top is lightly brown and the fish is firm and cooked through but not dry – if you have smaller pieces of fish yours won’t take as long!
When the fish is done, pull it out of the oven and immediately spoon some of the dill sauce over the fish so it can get nice and warm.
Then, transfer the pieces of fish to a platter (or to individual plates if that’s how you roll) and top each piece with more fresh dill.
Serve this with extra dill sauce and the naked, zested lemon cut into wedges, and THAT’S IT. Promise.