Deep-fried, pan-fried, or air-fried, fish for dinner turns into a treat when you cover it with a crispy coating. But while these three methods are the most popular ways to fry up fish, you can also turn to your oven if you don't own an air-fryer but want a hands-off way of cooking your dinner that avoids any oil splatters. The crux of using your oven is that if you just lay your filets flat on a sheet pan, one side won't get the same air exposure as the others and they won't crisp up properly. This is why air-frying works beautifully, because these devices blow hot air all around the food inside.
And yet, there is a way to achieve crunchy fish on all sides using your oven. All you need to do is layer a wire rack over a baking sheet and place your filets on the rack. This allows the Maillard reaction to occur, much like it would in the air fryer -- although it's achieved through hot air, not hot oil like with deep-frying or pan-frying. You'll essentially get a lighter version of fried fish, without sacrificing any of your textural requirements.
Read more: 15 Different Ways To Cook Fish
Rack It Up To Keep It Crunchy
Make sure to pat your fish dry before doing anything else, as moist foods have a much harder time getting crunchy. To make your coating as crispy as possible, try toasting your breadcrumbs ahead of time -- that way, when it's time to bake, they'll already be nice and golden. But where you can bring moisture in is in the wet layer between the filets and the crumbs. Mix a whisked egg together with flour and mayo, sour cream, or Greek yogurt, then dip your fish in and follow with the dry ingredients. Panko breadcrumbs work beautifully, but you can also use crushed Ritz crackers, corn flakes, or even Cheez-Its -- and don't forget to season them with garlic powder, onion powder, herbs, or red pepper flakes.
When it comes to the baking rack, make sure to spray or rub it lightly with oil before you put on your fish. You'll want to thoroughly press the coating into your filets and shake them to allow any excess breadcrumbs to fall off. Oven-fried fish tastes best right when it comes out, but if you do need to keep it warm while you wait for your sides to finish cooking, keep them on the wire rack in an oven set to a low temperature, around 150 degrees Fahrenheit.
Read the original article on Tasting Table.