I've heard a lot of people say that they don't know how to cook fish or that it turns out dry and tough. Too often they don't eat fish because of it, and it's such a shame. Fish that is cooked correctly is not only good for you, it tastes great!
In order to cook fish that is juicy and flavorful, you have to do two things:
- Prevent the fish from losing its existing moisture. This is accomplished by either cooking the fish in liquid (poaching) or sealing the moisture in by creating a crust on the outside of the fish (searing or frying).
- Add moisture to the fish. This is especially important when cooking lean fish, such as cod or tilapia. Adding fat in the form of butter or oil helps lean fish stay moist, but moisture and flavor can also be enhanced with things like lemon or lime juice or white wine.
Whether you use one or both methods, it is imperative that fish is not overcooked, since it will lose its moisture and succulent texture. The general rule for fish that is baked in the oven is 15 minutes for fish fillets one inch thick. If the fish is less than one inch thick, it will need less time (i.e. 10 minutes). If it is more than one inch thick, it will need more time.
I utilized both strategies to make this lemon dill fish. I added moisture to the fish in the form of lemon juice and olive oil, and I kept the fish from losing its moisture by covering the baking dish and steaming it. The result is a fish that is juicy, tender and flavorful! Oh, and did I mention that it's super quick and easy to make?
For this recipe, I used Australis Barramundi from Costco. I love how affordable it is: a two pound bag of six fillets sells for around $16! But more importantly, I love the mild and buttery flavor and succulent, flaky texture. The health benefits and sustainable practices of the company are also a huge bonus. Barramundi contains 600-800 mg of omega 3 fats per serving (the highest amount of any white fish) and is free from mercury, and the fish is raised in an eco-friendly manner. Check out this link by University of California Berkeley for more details!
Of course, you could use almost any type of tender fish to make this recipe. I've used both salmon and cod and both were delicious! Just make sure that you increase the cooking time to 20 minutes if you are using fish more than one inch thick.
I've stated how much of each ingredient to use per fillet so you can easily cater this recipe to the number of hungry mouths you are feeding. To accompany this, check out my easy and creamy mashed cauliflower!
Oven Poached Lemon-Dill Fish
Gluten-free | Dairy-free | Paleo | Primal | Low-Carb | Ketogenic
- 24 oz whitefish fillets (I used barramundi), 4 pieces of fish about 6 oz each
- 4 Tbsp olive oil (1 Tbsp per fillet)
- 8 tsp lemon juice (2 tsp per fillet)
- 1 tsp dried dill (¼ tsp per fillet)
- ½ tsp salt (⅛ tsp per fillet)
Preheat oven to 400 degrees.
Spread half of the olive oil in the bottom of a baking dish.
Arrange the fish in a single layer. Pour lemon juice over each fillet, followed by olive oil, using your finger or the back of a spoon to spread it evenly over the fish.
Sprinkle dill and salt over each fillet. Cover the baking dish tightly with foil and use a knife to poke 2 holes over each fillet. Cook in preheated oven for 15 minutes.
Remove foil immediately after removing the fish from the oven. Spoon the liquid left in the baking dish over each fillet to serve. Salt to taste, if needed.