Oven Baked Fish Nuggets, made with real fish, are the homemade alternative to boxes of crumbed fish from the supermarket. Make extra, and keep some nuggets in the freezer for a speedy dinner. Loved by the whole family.
Once upon a time, my go-to emergency meal was a box of crumbed frozen fish fillets. One box, together with a few sides, would feed Mr Grumpy & me. However the introduction of The Princess’s ever growing appetite to our lives suddenly meant that one box of fish was not enough. When I did the maths, crumbed fish in a box turned out to be quite an expensive meal. Far better, and cheaper, to make my own Oven Baked Fish Nuggets.
Fish is often considered quite a costly protein, although it needn’t be if you shop carefully. Buying local and sustainable fish in season can be substantially cheaper than always purchasing the most popular species. At one point this year I managed to save nearly $20/kilogram on a popular local species as it was in season and there was an abundance on the market at that time. Lesser-known fish species are usually cheaper than the popular varieties, and we have discovered new family favourites by purchasing a more obscure fish.
If you are on a budget, and would still like to include fish in your diet, consider purchasing frozen fish instead. Frozen fish is snap frozen on the fishing boats soon after being caught, resulting in a high quality product that is usually much cheaper than fresh fish. If you live far from the coast, frozen fish is often a better alternative anyway. Even though I live in a coastal city, I happily use frozen fish for curries and fish cakes due to the price.
I prefer to cook these nuggets on an oven rack. This allows the cooking juices to drip away, which helps keep the nuggets crunchy. I have also, on occasion, pan-fried the nuggets in a little ghee with great success. I like to serve them with sweet potato chips, a green salad, and tartare sauce, and have even tucked them into burgers and sushi for a quick lunch.
As the nuggets are quick to make, I often double the recipe. This gives me enough for dinner, and means I have another meal in the freezer. However, if you wish to freeze the nuggets only use fresh fish; frozen fish should not be re-frozen. Whilst boxes of crumbed fish may be a thing of the past in our house, I’m pretty happy with my own homemade alternative.
Oven Baked Fish Nuggets
Use the thickest fish fillet you can find for this dish to ensure the nuggets don't dry out in the oven.
Frozen fish can be used for this recipe, although the uncooked nuggets should not be refrozen.
I use homemade sourdough breadcrumbs for this recipe. Use gluten free breadcrumbs for a gluten free version.
- 800 g white fish fillets rinsed and dried
- 200 g dried breadcrumbs 1 1/2 cups
- 2 Tablespoons chopped parsley
- Zest 1 lemon
- 1 Tablespoon olive oil
- 2 eggs
- 2 tablespoons milk
- 135 g flour 1 cup
- 1 teaspoon sumac
- Salt & pepper
Preheat the oven to 200C (180C).
To prepare the crumb coating
Cut the fish into 5- 7cm sized pieces. Depending on the size of the fillets, some pieces will be irregular in size and shape.
Set the fish pieces aside.
Mix the breadcrumbs, parsley, lemon zest and salt & pepper together in a medium bowl.
Drizzle the olive oil over the seasoned breadcrumbs and stir thoroughly to ensure everything is well coated in oil.
Pour half of the seasoned breadcrumbs into a shallow tray, and set the remainder aside.
Whisk the eggs and milk together in a shallow bowl and set aside. I use a shallow pasta bowl.
Stir the flour, sumac, and salt & pepper together in a small bowl. Pour the seasoned flour onto a sheet of baking paper.
To crumb the fish
Take a piece of fish and coat it in the seasoned flour.
Dip the floured fish into the eggy milk, allowing any excess to drip off.
Roll the fish in the seasoned breadcrumbs and place on a tray.
Repeat with the remainder of the fish pieces, replenishing the breadcrumbs in the tray from the reserved crumbs in the bowl as required.
The fish nuggets can be baked immediately, however if time permits allow them to sit in the fridge for 30 minutes. This allows the coating to set.
The fish nuggets can be frozen at this stage.
To cook the nuggets
Place an oven rack on oven tray.
Space the nuggets out on the tray, ensuring they don't touch.
Bake in the oven for 12 - 15 minutes*. Exact timings will depend on the thickness of the fish and the effectiveness of your oven. If you are unsure as to whether they are ready, cut one open to check.
You can turn the nuggets halfway through the cooking time, although I tend to forget and the nuggets still brown up nicely.