Makes 4 servings
Hands-on time: 15 minutes
Total preparation time: 30 minutes
4 skin-on baby cod or small haddock fillets, about 8 ounces each
About 3 tablespoons vegetable oil
Kosher or sea salt and freshly ground black pepper
2 ripe medium tomatoes, thinly sliced
1 cup Buttery Crumbs (recipe follows)
Adjust an oven rack to the middle position and preheat the oven to 375 F. Brush a baking sheet with oil.
Place the fillets skin side down on the sheet pan. Brush the tops lightly with the oil and sprinkle them with salt and pepper. Layer the tomato slices over the fillets, overlapping them slightly. Sprinkle each piece of fish with 1/4 cup of the crumbs and pack the crumbs lightly with cupped hands to cover the fish.
Place the fish in the oven and bake until the fish feels very firm and the crumbs have turned golden brown, about 12 minutes. If you’re uncertain about whether the fish is cooked through, use a paring knife to peek into the center of one fillet- it should be pure white all the way through.
Use a large spatula to carefully transfer the baked scrod to dinner plates. The fish is very flaky and will break easily. Serve immediately.
Buttery Crumbs: Place one 6-ounce box oyster crackers in a food processor and pulse until they are fairly fine, with pieces no larger than 1/4 inch. Transfer the crumbs to a large bowl. Add 8 sprigs fresh Italian parsley, leaves removed and coarsely chopped (3 tablespoons), 4 sprigs fresh thyme, leaves removed and chopped (1 tablespoon), 1/2 teaspoon kosher or sea salt and 1/4 teaspoon freshly ground black pepper; stir to combine. Drizzle in 8 tablespoons (1 stick) unsalted butter, melted and cooled and mix well with a rubber spatula so all the crumbs are coated with butter. Transfer the crumb mixture to a tightly sealed glass jar container and refrigerate or freeze until ready to use. The crumbs can be refrigerated for up to 2 weeks or frozen for up to 1 month. Makes about 2 cups, enough for 8 portions of scrod