Poisson à la bordelaise

Crusted fish ‘bordelaise’

You can use cod or any white-fleshed fish — fresh or frozen — to make this family friendly dish. The topping combines breadcrumbs, shallots, garlic, parsley, salt, pepper, butter, lemon, olive oil and a splash of white wine. Pop it in the oven, and it’s ready in 10 minutes.

If using fresh fish, get it out of the fridge half an hour ahead of time to allow it to return to room temperature. If using frozen fish, defrost completely before beginning.

As for the breadcrumbs, you can use a storebought variety or make them yourself using dried bread or — my preference — by crushing biscottes (Melba toast) with a rolling pin.

The quantities below will serve four people. If you’re cooking for two, divide by half.

4 portion-size fish fillets (cod or another white-fleshed fish)
2 large or 4 small shallots
1 clove garlic
2 tbsp. butter (30 g / 1 ounce)
1/4 cup (120 ml) dry white wine
1-1/2 cup (180 g) breadcrumbs
2 tbsp. minced fresh parsley
1 lemon

1/2 tsp. salt
freshly ground black pepper

3 tbsp. olive oil

Dry off the fish fillets with a paper towel. Set aside.

Preheat the oven to 350 F (180 C, gasmark 6).

Finely mince the shallots and garlic. Heat the butter to sizzling in a small skillet. Add the shallots and garlic and sauté, stirring, until wilted, about 2 minutes. Add the white wine and continue cooking until it has completely evaporated. Remove from heat.

In a bowl, combine the breadcrumbs with the shallot mixture, minced parsley, salt and pepper. Add 2 tbsp. olive oil and the juice of half the lemon. Stir. The mixture should hold together — if it’s too dry, add a little more olive oil.

Use the rest of the olive oil to oil a baking pan.

Place the fish fillets in the baking pan. It’s fine if they fill the entire pan.

Pat the breadcrumb topping onto the fish.

Bake for 10-12 minutes, until the fish is sizzling and the topping is golden brown.

While the fish is baking, cut the remaining lemon half into quarters.

Serve garnished with lemon, along with a salad or veggies of your choice and a crisp bottle of white. Serves 4.

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