The breadcrumb topping can appear quite dry when it’s first made, but press it gently onto the fish and you’ll find that it holds its shape and forms a deliciously moist crust when baked.
4 medium Leatherjackets, heads and skin off
1 red onion, diced
1 clove garlic, finely chopped
½ cup shelled pistachios, roughly chopped
1 teaspoon lemon thyme leaves, chopped
1 orange, zest grated, juiced
½ cup small black olives, pitted and chopped
1½ teaspoons finely shredded sage leaves
½ cup chopped flat-leaf parsley
1½ cups fresh breadcrumbs (see notes)
Salt flakes and freshly ground black pepper, to taste
Boiled potatoes, to serve
Green salad, to serve
Preheat the oven to 180°C.
Trim the fins and tail off each fish using kitchen scissors, pat dry with paper towel. Oil a heavy baking dish and arrange the fish, thick-end to the edge of the pan, in a single layer.
Melt the butter in a large frying pan over a low heat. Add the onion and garlic and cook until they are translucent and soft. Add pistachios, thyme, orange zest, olives, sage and parsley and cook until fragrant. Remove from the heat, stir in the breadcrumbs, orange juice, salt and pepper.
Spoon the crust onto the fish in an even layer, pressing gently to form a firm coating. Bake for 15-20 minutes, until flesh flakes easily when tested with a fork.
Serve with boiled potatoes and green salad.
To make fresh breadcrumbs, pulse day-old bread in a food processor until finely crumbed. It’s a great way to use up stale bread and you can keep them in the freezer to use whenever breadcrumbs are required.
Morwong, Rockcod or any of the Dory species.