Baked Fish on Lettuce is a quick and easy, unusual fish dish that tastes divine. Mild white fish (halibut, tilapia or red snapper) is topped with a sharp, creamy mayonnaise-Parmesan-green onion mixture, placed on a bed of shredded iceberg lettuce and baked. OK, I know it sounds strange – baking fish on lettuce? Really? I can promise you that you’re going to love this baked fish – read on and I’ll explain why.
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Why this Oven Baked Fish Works
Here’s why this baked fish recipe works so beautifully and delivers moist, tender fish every time:
- The iceberg lettuce. The bed of lettuce under the fish helps to keep it moist, due it iceberg’s high water content. It basically steams the fish from the bottom up! And the lettuce itself becomes slightly sweet and tender, while still retaining a bit of crunch. The resulting flavors are the perfect complement to the fish.
- The mayo-Parmesan-green onion topping. Creamy, tangy and peppery, this mixture layers in more flavor to support the mild fish. Plus, it also keeps the fish moist, sealing in moisture from the top.
Baked Fish with Mayonnaise Recipe
This recipe has been around for many years, yet I still have friends who ask for it when they come to dinner. Despite its simplicity, it’s very impressive looking, especially if you bake it in an attractive pan. The original recipe called for red snapper, but since that fish is now on often the warning list of fish to avoid, we suggest using another white fish, like halibut or tilapia. (See my tips on Buying and Storing Fresh Fish.)
Baked White Fish Ingredients
You only need 6 ingredients (including the garnish!) to make this flavorful, quick and easy fish dish:
- Iceberg lettuce
- White fish fillets – red snapper, tilapia or halibut all work well (see my fresh fish buying tips)
- Mayonnaise – I like Hellmann’s or Best Foods brand. Can substitute 1/2 cup nonfat Greek yogurt for 1/2 of the mayo
- Grated Parmesan cheese
- Green onions
- Italian parsley, for garnish – can use more chopped green onion instead
To add even more flavor, toss some chopped dill and/or garlic in to the mayonnaise mixture.
How to make Baked Fish with Mayonnaise
You’re going to be amazed at how easy it is to prepare this baked fish:
- Prep oven and baking dish.
Preheat oven to 350 degrees. Grease a baking dish large enough to hold the fish fillets in one layer (preferably one that can double as a serving dish).
- Add lettuce and fish.
Cover the bottom of the prepared dish with the shredded lettuce. Place the fish on top of the lettuce. If using individual fillets instead of one large piece, you can slightly overlap the fillets to fit them in the pan.
- Make mayonnaise sauce; spread on fish.
In a medium bowl, mix together the mayonnaise, Parmesan cheese and onions. Season with salt and pepper to taste. Spread the mixture evenly on top of the fish.
Bake for 20 minutes or until the mayonnaise mixture is browned in places and the fish reaches 140 to 145 degrees when measured with an instant-read thermometer.
- Rest fish; garnish and serve.
Remove from oven and let stand for 5 minutes. Sprinkle with chopped parsley and serve.
How to serve Oven Baked Fish
This baked fish looks so pretty in the baking dish, I like to serve it as part of a buffet. Here are a few suggested side dishes. I usually pick two, with one that adds a pop of color – like one with tomatoes or carrots:
How to store this recipe for Baked Fish
Fish can be prepared but not baked earlier in the day, covered and refrigerated. Bring to room temperature before baking. If you have leftovers, cover them and refrigerate. They will last up to 4 days. Reheat in a 300 degree oven.
Baked White Fish Recipe FAQs
You can bake fish anywhere from 350 to 450 degrees. For this recipe, I bake it at 350 degrees. The lower temperature allows the fish to get done without the topping overcooking and getting too brown or burning.
It all depends on the recipe. Any fish recipe that has a topping – breaded, mayonnaise, nuts, etc. – should be baked uncovered, so the topping can crisp and brown. Covered, steam is trapped inside and the topping will become soggy.
I have several fish recipes that call for mayo – some where the fish is cooked with mayo, others it’s served on the side, as a sauce. I think that cooking fish with mayo keeps it moist and subtly enhances the flavor. Another plus – when grilling fish fillets, it can keep them from sticking to the grill!
- 4 cups shredded iceberg lettuce
- 2 pounds white fish fillets – red snapper, tilapia or halibut (see my fresh fish buying tips)
- 1 cup mayonnaise
- 1 cup freshly grated Parmesan cheese
- 2 green onions, chopped
- chopped Italian parsley, for garnish
- Preheat oven to 350 degrees.
- Grease a baking dish large enough to hold the fish fillets in one layer (preferably one that can double as a serving dish).
- Cover the bottom of the prepared dish with the shredded lettuce. Place the fish on top of the lettuce. If using individual fillets instead of one large piece, you can slightly overlap the fillets to fit them in the pan.
- In a medium bowl, mix together the mayonnaise, Parmesan cheese and onions. Season with salt and pepper to taste. Spread the mixture evenly on top of the fish.
- Bake for 20 minutes or until fish is browned in places on top and reaches 140 to 145 degrees when measured with an instant-read thermometer.
- Remove from oven and let stand for 5 minutes. Sprinkle with chopped parsley and serve.
Make ahead: Fish can be prepared but not baked earlier in the day, covered and refrigerated. Bring to room temperature before baking.
- Category: fish, main dish, easy entertaining, gluten free
- Method: Bake
- Cuisine: Mediterranean