Tuesday, April 3, 2012

Oven-Baked Bass

I loved going fishing when I was a kid.  In the summers, my dad would take us kids with him when he went to check the cows and we fished in the little ponds in the pastures.  But we never caught fish big enough to eat.  One weekend every summer we went camping at a bigger pond a few counties away with some family friends.  A bigger pond meant bigger fish, and we did eat some of those "keepers".  But I was always too busy swimming to be involved in the cooking of those fish.  Ah, simpler times!

I hadn't been fishing in years until recently when a neighbor took my husband and me fishing.  To my surprise, we actually caught some pretty good bass.  (I should note that by "we" I mean my husband and my neighbor.  I caught baby fish!)  Our neighbor was nice enough to clean a few fish for us so I got to try my hand at baking fresh-caught fish.  From what I recall about the fish preparation of our camping days, it involved dredging cleaned fillets in a cracker mixture and deep fat frying.  That wasn't going to happen in my kitchen!  So I did a quick internet search and came up with a bunch of non-fried bass recipes.  I chose a simple recipe that included olive oil, lemon juice, Italian seasoning, minced garlic and an oven.  It sounded like a winning combination to me!

And this was definitely a winner!  I was really nervous about baking bass, thinking it might taste fishy.  It wasn't fishy at all!  This baked bass was moist, tender, and juicy.  The lemon, olive oil, and seasoning mixture combined perfectly to add great flavor.  If you are looking for a healthier way to prepare your keepers, look no further!  And if you don't keep your catches because you don't know what to do with it, I recommend trying this recipe.

Not only was this delicious and healthy, it was super easy as well.  It took only a few minutes to prepare and only needed about 15 minutes to bake.  It seriously takes longer for the oven to preheat than it takes to throw this together, so it makes for a great busy evening meal.  And the less time you spend in the kitchen this Spring, the more time you can spend fishing!

The first step in this recipe is the best one.  Go out on a beautiful Spring day and catch yourself some nice bass.  I guess if that's not an option for you you could always go to the store and buy some other mild, white fleshed fish such as cod or tilapia.  But that's not as much fun.

Now that you have some fish, mix together some garlic, olive oil, lemon juice, Italian seasoning, black pepper, and salt in a small bowl.
Put your fish fillets in a baking dish and rub them with your spice mixture.
Then bake it at 450 degrees for 15-20 minutes.  I hope you can handle all that work!
We enjoyed this so much, we're going fishing again tomorrow to hopefully get some more fillets.  And the fishing part isn't bad either! :)

Oven-Baked Bass
1 lb boneless bass fillets
3 cloves garlic, minced
1 tablespoon olive oil
1 tsp lemon juice
2 tsp dried Italian seasoning
1 tsp fresh ground black pepper
1/2 tsp salt
Preheat oven to 450 degrees.
In a small bowl, stir together garlic, olive oil, lemon juice, Italian seasoning, black pepper, and salt.  Place fish in glass baking dish.  Rub with seasoning mix.  Bake 15-20 minutes, until fish flakes easily with a fork.
Optional: garnish with lemon wedges.

Recipe adapted from food.com

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