Mustardy cracker crumb fish

By Julia Turshen
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I started making this fish a couple of years ago during our volunteer shift at Angel Food East (you can read more about this on page 176).  Since the fish we get from our county’s food bank is only available frozen, I find that it benefits from a little something to perk it up after thawing. This mustardy, buttery cracker crumb mixture is my favorite little something. It’s a small something. It’s literally crumbs. But it makes a difference and it’s a way to express our care for what we’re preparing and who we’re preparing it for. Serve with a simple salad or a quick slaw made of shredded cabbage that you sprinkle with a little vinegar and salt and scrunch with your hands to soften the cabbage, then add a big spoonful of mayonnaise and a sprinkle of Old Bay Seasoning so that the flavor complements the fish. This also goes well with rice, baked potatoes . . . just about anything. Tartar sauce is also a good accompaniment. For a quick homemade one, finely chop a pickle and a spoonful of capers and mix them with some mayonnaise, a little lemon juice, and lots of freshly ground black pepper.



  • 20 saltine, soda, or Ritz crackers (or 1 cup oyster crackers, 65 g total whichever you use)
  • 2 tablespoons Dijon mustard
  • 2 tablespoons unsalted butter, melted (or olive oil)
  • 1/2 teaspoon kosher salt
  • 1 teaspoon old Bay seasoning (or 1/2 teaspoon each sweet paprika and garlic powder)
  • Four 6-ounce [170 g] boneless, skinless, flaky, white-fleshed fish fillets, such as cod or flounder
  • 1 lemon, cut into wedges, for serving


  1. Preheat your oven to 425ºF [220ºC]. Line a sheet pan with parchment paper.
  2. Place the crackers in a large plastic bag and seal the bag. Crush the crackers with a rolling pin or a wine bottle until the crumbs are very fine.
  3. Place the crushed crackers, mustard, butter, salt, and Old Bay in a bowl and stir well to combine.
  4. Place the fish fillets on the prepared sheet pan. Wet your hands with water and pat equal portions of the cracker mixture into an even layer on top of each piece of fish (wetting your hands makes the spreading easier).
  5. Bake until the cracker mixture is light golden brown and the fish flakes when you nudge it with a fork, about 15 minutes. Serve right away with lemon wedges for squeezing on top.


From the book SIMPLY JULIA by Julia Turshen. Copyright © 2021 by Julia Turshen. Published by Harper Wave, an imprint of HarperCollins Publishers. Reprinted by permission.

Photos credited to Melina Hammer.

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