3 of the Best Ways to Cook Croaker Fish

Balance your croaker fish dinner with a salad and potatoes.
Image Credit: gbh007/iStock/GettyImages

Atlantic croaker, also called hardhead, is found in the East Coast of United States from Massachusetts to Florida, and in the Gulf of Mexico, according to the Maryland Department of Natural Resources. Croaker has white meat with a sweet flavor.

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A 3-ounce serving of cooked croaker contains 111 calories, 19 grams of protein and 3.4 grams of fat. You can cook croaker by pan-frying, broiling or baking.

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

1. Pan-Fried Croaker Fish

  1. Rinse gutted, scaled and headed croaker fish and pat dry with paper towel. (Optional: drizzle on lemon juice.)
  2. Mix 1 cup of all-purpose flour or cornmeal (increase the amount of flour if you use more than 2 pounds of fish), 1 teaspoon salt and 1 teaspoon black pepper in a bowl.
  3. Place the croaker fish one by one in the bowl and coat with the flour mixture.
  4. Heat one-half cup vegetable oil in a cast-iron pan or skillet over medium-high heat.
  5. 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.
  6. Cook fish for 3 to 5 minutes or until the bottom side turns brown.
  7. Turn the fish carefully.
  8. Cook for 3 to 5 minutes on the other side until brown and crispy.
  9. Check the internal temperature with a meat thermometer. It should be at least 145 degrees Fahrenheit, according to the U.S. Department of Agriculture (USDA).
  10. Remove fish from the pan. Place it on a plate with paper towels to drain the excess oil.
  11. Sprinkle the fish with lemon juice and fresh chopped herbs.

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2. Baked Croaker

  1. Preheat the oven to 450 degrees Fahrenheit.
  2. Coat a baking dish with aluminum foil.
  3. Rinse gutted, scaled and headed croaker fish and pat dry with paper towel.
  4. Rub the fish on both sides with a mixture of 1 tablespoon vegetable oil and 1 tablespoon 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.
  5. Place the fish into the dish.
  6. Bake undisturbed for 15 to 25 minutes or until meat is translucent and flakes easily with a fork.
  7. Check the internal temperature with a meat thermometer. It should be at least 145 degrees Fahrenheit, per the USDA.

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3. Broiled Croaker

  1. Preheat the broiler for 10 minutes. Place the rack 4 inches away from heat source.
  2. Oil a baking dish with 1 tablespoon vegetable oil.
  3. Rinse gutted, scaled and headed croaker fish and pat dry with paper towel.
  4. Place the fish on the baking dish.
  5. Brush fish fillets with a mixture of 1 tablespoon lemon juice and 1 tablespoon 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 pounds of fish.
  6. Broil for 4 to 8 minutes and check for readiness. If fish is more than 1 1/2 inches thick, turn after 5 minutes and cook for another 5 to 8 minutes or until done.
  7. Check the internal temperature with a meat thermometer. It should be at least 145 degrees Fahrenheit, per the USDA.
  8. Remove the fish from the broiler and sprinkle with lemon juice, salt, black pepper and fresh herbs.
  9. Serve immediately.

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