Healthy New England Baked Scrod with Saltines (Recipe)

I recently finished The Evil Inside by Heather Graham. There is one scene where Jenna, the protagonist, orders New England Baked Scrod in a restaurant in Salem, so my culinary dish today features Massachusetts (where I grew up) with this healthy New England Baked Scrod with Saltines. I hope you like my version, which uses mayonnaise and saltines to coat the fish. This dish pairs beautifully with a light, crisp white wine and a side salad, to make the perfectly balanced, healthy meal.

This Healthy New England Baked Scrod with Saltines recipe is perfect for those evenings when you want something special without spending hours in the kitchen. I use an old-school saltine cracker crust, but you can use any kind of topping: oyster crackers, Ritz, or, hold your hats, Cheerios. Yes, Cheerios! It sounds wild, but it works. A quick mix, a spread, a sprinkle, and into the oven it goes. Before you know it, you're pulling out a bubbling, aromatic dish that's sure to impress.

This article may contains affiliate links. We earn from qualifying purchases at no cost to you. Thank you for your generous support!

Why I Love This New England Baked Scrod with Saltines

This dish reminds me of growing up. We didn’t go out very often, but when we did, my mother would have one of three dishes: some kind of white fish (like scrod or cod), clam strips, or lobster. All Massachusetts signatures.

This is a basic scrod dish that you can add whatever you want to jazz it up. I like to sometimes add peas on top of the crumb, or use panko bread crumbs instead of saltines. You can also use fresh Parmesan, cheddar, or any other kind of cheese to your heart’s desire.

What is New England Baked Scrod?

New England Baked Scrod is a traditional dish from the northeastern United States, specifically the coastal regions of New England. “Scrod” refers to any white-fleshed fish such as cod, haddock, or pollock, which is typically baked with a cracker crumb topping. In this version, we’re using saltines, adding a delightfully crunchy texture that complements the tender fish wonderfully.

The term “scrod” has a unique and interesting history. It is believed to have originated in the early 19th century, although there is some debate about its exact origins. One theory is that it comes from the Dutch word “schrod,” which means “to cut into pieces.” This would make sense, as scrod is typically served as a fillet.

Another theory is that the term “scrod” is derived from the Old English word “screadian,” which means “to shred.” (As many words in English come from different languages, this would make sense that “schrod” and “screadian” are similar words.)

However, the most commonly accepted theory is that “scrod” is a term used in the Boston area to refer to a young cod or haddock, typically less than 2.5 pounds. The word is thought to have come from the term “sacred cod,” which was shortened to “scrod.”

The “sacred cod” is a wooden carving of a codfish that hangs in the Massachusetts State House, symbolizing the importance of the fishing industry to the state’s economy.

Over the years, the term “scrod” has evolved and is now used more broadly to refer to any white-fleshed fish that is used in the dish, regardless of its size or age. This change is likely due to the fact that the populations of young cod and haddock have decreased in the Atlantic Ocean, leading to the use of other types of fish in the dish.

The recipe for New England Baked Scrod has also evolved over the years. While the traditional recipe calls for a simple topping of cracker crumbs, modern versions often include additional ingredients such as garlic, lemon, and herbs to enhance the flavor of the fish.

Despite these changes, the basic elements of the dish remain the same: a tender, white-fleshed fish baked with a crispy, flavorful topping.

The Health Benefits of Eating Scrod

Scrod is not just tasty, it’s healthy too! High in protein and low in fat, it’s a great source of essential nutrients like Vitamin D and Omega-3 fatty acids, which contribute to heart and brain health. Plus, when baked, not fried, it’s an excellent choice for those watching their waistlines.

Selecting the Best Fish for Your New England Baked Dish

Selecting fresh, high-quality fish is crucial for this dish. You can use any kind of white fish. Tilapia is actually a good choice, since it is plentiful and inexpensive. If using a frozen fish, let it defrost first. (Cooking times will vary if using frozen fish.)

Substitutions and Variations

While traditional New England Baked Scrod uses saltines, feel free to experiment with other types of crackers or breadcrumbs for a different texture. For a gluten-free version, try using crushed rice cakes or cornmeal. You can also add different herbs or spices to the topping for an extra flavor boost.

However, I would advise against using mayonnaise that is low in fat or completely fat-free for this recipe. The fat gives the fish a good flavor (as well as seals the moisture while cooking).

Wine Pairing Suggestions for New England Baked Scrod with Saltines

A crisp, acidic white wine such as a Sauvignon Blanc or a light-bodied Chardonnay pairs beautifully with this dish, complementing the fish’s delicate flavor without overpowering it.

Yield: 4 servings

New England Baked Scrod with Saltines

This Healthy New England Baked Scrod with Saltines recipe is perfect for those evenings when you want something special without spending hours in the kitchen. I use an old-school saltine cracker crust, but you can use any kind of topping: oyster crackers, Ritz, or, hold your hats, Cheerios. Yes, Cheerios! It sounds wild, but it works. A quick mix, a spread, a sprinkle, and into the oven it goes. Before you know it, you're pulling out a bubbling, aromatic dish that's sure to impress.

This delicious New England Baked Scrod uses a saltine crumb top. Try it with different other crackers, like oyster crackers, Ritz crackers, or even Cheerios.

Prep Time 10 minutes
Cook Time 17 minutes
Total Time 27 minutes

Ingredients

  • 1 pound fresh white fish, such as cod, tilapia, or flounder
  • 1 cup full-fat mayonnaise
  • 1/2 tablespoons onion powder
  • 1/2 teaspoon garlic powder
  • 1 tablespoon parsley, dried or fresh is okay
  • 1 teaspoon coarse ground salt
  • 1 teaspoon fresh ground pepper
  • 1/3 cup shredded Parmesan cheese
  • 1 sleeve of saltine crackers, finely crushed

Instructions

  1. To start, preheat your oven to 375F. If you’re using foil or paper, lightly spray it with non-stick cooking spray. Next, arrange your fish fillets on the prepared sheet.
  2. Add all the dry ingredients together in a bowl and combine thoroughly.
  3. Spread the mayonnaise mixture evenly over each fillet, and then sprinkle the crushed saltines on top. Put the baking pan in the oven and bake the fish for about 15-20 minutes or until it’s cooked though and looks opaque. (Haddock will need to be cooked longer because it is thicker, and flounder will need to be cooked for a shorter amount of time because it is thin.)
  4. As the final step, switch the oven to broil. Spray the Saltine topping with cooking spray and let the fish broil for 1-2 minutes or until the top is golden brown. Serve with potato wedges or rice pilaf, and a veggie.

Notes

Try to use fresh fish whenever possible. If using frozen fish, make sure to thoroughly thaw and pat dry before baking to avoid a watery result. Also, don’t skimp on the cracker topping - it provides a delightful contrast to the soft, flaky fish.

Nutrition Information

Yield

4

Serving Size

1

Amount Per Serving Calories 734Total Fat 54gSaturated Fat 10gTrans Fat 0gUnsaturated Fat 42gCholesterol 182mgSodium 1246mgCarbohydrates 2gFiber 0gSugar 0gProtein 57g

Nutrition automatically generated.

The Final: Perfect New England Baked Scrod with Saltines?

I hope you find this dish as comforting and delicious as my family does.

This Healthy New England Baked Scrod with Saltines recipe is perfect for those evenings when you want something special without spending hours in the kitchen. I use an old-school saltine cracker crust, but you can use any kind of topping: oyster crackers, Ritz, or, hold your hats, Cheerios. Yes, Cheerios! It sounds wild, but it works. A quick mix, a spread, a sprinkle, and into the oven it goes. Before you know it, you're pulling out a bubbling, aromatic dish that's sure to impress.

This Healthy New England Baked Scrod with Saltines recipe is perfect for those evenings when you want something special without spending hours in the kitchen. I use an old-school saltine cracker crust, but you can use any kind of topping: oyster crackers, Ritz, or, hold your hats, Cheerios. Yes, Cheerios! It sounds wild, but it works. A quick mix, a spread, a sprinkle, and into the oven it goes. Before you know it, you're pulling out a bubbling, aromatic dish that's sure to impress.

This Healthy New England Baked Scrod with Saltines recipe is perfect for those evenings when you want something special without spending hours in the kitchen. I use an old-school saltine cracker crust, but you can use any kind of topping: oyster crackers, Ritz, or, hold your hats, Cheerios. Yes, Cheerios! It sounds wild, but it works. A quick mix, a spread, a sprinkle, and into the oven it goes. Before you know it, you're pulling out a bubbling, aromatic dish that's sure to impress.

Join the mailing list

    I send an email every other week. We respect your privacy. Unsubscribe at anytime.

    Leave a Comment

    Skip to Recipe