How to Cook Croaker Fish

A large basket filled with croaker fish at outdoor market.
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Atlantic croaker, also called hardhead, is found in the East Coast of United States from Massachusetts to Florida, and in the Gulf of Mexico. Croaker has a white meat with a sweet flavor. A 3-oz. serving of cooked croaker contains 111 calories, 19 g of protein and 3.4 g of fat. You can cook croaker by pan-frying, broiling or baking.

Pan-Fried Croaker Fish

Step 1

Rinse gutted, scaled and headed croaker fish and pat dry with paper towel. Optionally drizzle on lemon juice.

Step 2

Mix 1 cup of all-purpose flour or cornmeal, 1 tsp. of salt and 1 tsp. of black pepper in a bowl. Place the croaker fish one by one in the bowl and coat with the flour mixture. Increase the amount of flour if you use more than 2 lbs. of fish.

Step 3

Heat one-half cup of vegetable oil in a cast-iron pan or a skillet over medium-high heat. Add the fish to the pan without overcrowding them. Fry the fish in smaller amounts if you cannot fit them in the pan at the same time.

Step 4

Cook fish for three to five minutes or until the bottom side turns brown.

Step 5

Turn the fish carefully. Cook for three to five minutes on the other side until brown and crispy. Check the internal temperature with a meat thermometer to avoid overcooked or undercooked fish. The Dietary Guidelines for Americans 2010 recommends that you cook fish to 145 degrees Fahrenheit.

Step 6

Remove fish from the pan. Place it on a plate with paper towels to drain the excess oil. Sprinkle the fish with lemon juice and fresh chopped herbs.

Baked Croaker

Step 1

Preheat the oven to 450 degrees Fahrenheit. Coat a baking dish with aluminum foil.

Step 2

Rinse gutted, scaled and headed croaker fish and pat dry with paper towel.

Step 3

Rub the fish on both sides with a mixture of 1 tbsp. of vegetable oil and 1 tbsp. of fresh lemon juice. Season with salt and black pepper to taste. If you'd like, add minced garlic or fresh herbs to the oil-lemon mixture.

Step 4

Place the fish into the dish. Bake undisturbed, for 15 to 25 minutes or until meat is translucent and flakes easily with a fork. Check the internal temperature with a meat thermometer to avoid overcooked or undercooked fish. The Dietary Guidelines for Americans 2010 recommends that you cook fish to 145 degrees Fahrenheit.

Broiled Croaker

Step 1

Preheat the broiler for 10 minutes. Place the rack 4 inches away from heat source. Oil a baking dish with 1 tbsp. of vegetable oil.

Step 2

Rinse gutted, scaled and headed croaker fish and pat dry with paper towel. Place the fish on the baking dish.

Step 3

Brush fish fillets with a mixture of 1 tbsp. of lemon juice and 1 tbsp. of vegetable oil. Sprinkle with salt and black pepper to taste. Increase the amount of oil and lemon juice if you are using more than 2 lbs. of fish.

Step 4

Broil for four to eight minutes and check for readiness. If fish is over 1 1/2 inches thick, turn after five minutes and cook for another five to eight minutes or until done. Check the internal temperature with a meat thermometer to avoid overcooked or undercooked fish. The Dietary Guidelines for Americans 2010 recommends that you cook fish to 145 degrees Fahrenheit.

Step 5

Remove the fish from the broiler and sprinkle with lemon juice, salt, black pepper and fresh herbs. Serve immediately.

Things You'll Need

  • Croaker fish

  • Paper towels

  • 1 cup flour

  • Salt

  • Black pepper

  • Bowl

  • Vegetable oil

  • Cast-iron pan

  • Meat thermometer

  • Lemon juice

  • Fresh chopped herbs

  • Baking pan

  • Aluminum foil

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