Community Cookbook: Jessica’s cheesy, cracker-crusted halibut

Jessica Stugelmayer is a fellow Spenardian and foodie. She is Edible Alaska’s senior digital content editor and the director of marketing and promotions for Alaska Public Media. Stugelmayer previously worked as the web editor for KTVA 11 News where she co-created a web series called “Harvesting Alaska,” which earned a James Beard Foundation award for Best Television Segment in 2017. The James Beard Award is the most prestigious food journalism award you can earn. Stugelmayer says it’s the equivalent of the Oscars for food.

Stugelmayer’s recipe is a mashup of Lidia Bastianich’s gloucester baked halibut and Julia O’Malley’s cousin Tanya’s salmon.

“What I really love about this recipe is that you can basically use any cracker and any cheese,” Stugelmeyer said. “Taste them together to make sure that they work.”

She recommends a sharp white cheddar with saltines and more nutty, seedy crackers with a gouda cheese.

 

Ingredients:

  • 1/2 cup extra-virgin olive oil
  • 1 cup crackers, like multi-seed or saltines
  • 2 tablespoon chopped fresh or dried herbs like thyme, oregano or parsley
  • 1 1/2 cups grated cheese like white cheddar or gouda
  • 4 skinless halibut fillets, roughly the same size and shape to ensure even cooking
  • Salt to taste
  • 2 cloves garlic, optional

 

Directions:

(Optional) Slice garlic and place in a measuring cup with the olive oil and let infuse for 30 minutes or more. Leave the garlic in the cup when using oil later.

  1. Preheat oven to 400 degrees.
  2. Crush crackers in a large zip-top bag. In a rimmed dish, combine crackers, herbs and half of the olive oil and toss to coat. Add more oil if needed. Add the grated cheese and mix well.
  3. Line a baking sheet with parchment paper or foil. If there’s oil left in the cup, use it to grease the paper or foil.
  4. Working with one fillet at a time, coat the fish on all sides with the crumbs, pressing firmly to get a thick coating. Place the fish on the baking sheet, leaving space in between.
  5. Bake until crumb coating is crisp and golden and fish is cooked through, about 15-20 minutes depending on the thickness of the fish.

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