Enjoying ‘lobster’ on a cod budget

Mock lobster

Mock lobsterThe New Year brings cold weather, quiet after the holiday revelry, and cutting back. After splurging on holiday presents, it’s time to tighten our budgets a little. This recipe for Mock Lobster is perfect if you want an elegant meal without the pricetag.

I got this recipe for Mock Lobster when I judged a 4-H Favorite Foods Contest at the old Warren High School. I can’t remember which youngster made it and have never come across the recipe anywhere else, but it’s delicious, easy to make, cheaper than lobster, and very popular with all ages. Everyone asks for the recipe when I make it for parties or lunches at the office.

Mock Lobster

Serves 4 to 6

2 pounds cod (or cod loins)

1 roll of Ritz crackers

1 stick unsalted butter

Paprika and parsley

Roughly cut cod into bite-sized pieces. Don’t be neat. You want it to look like pieces of lobster. Put Ritz crackers in a plastic bag and crush with a rolling pin. Don’t make the crumbs too small.

In a bowl, microwave the butter until melted. Toss in the crumbs and stir with a fork until all the butter is absorbed. Pat fish dry with paper towels (this is important if you want a nice crisp crumb topping) and put in a 9×13-inch pan.

Add buttery crumbs and stir until fish is coated with cracker crumbs. Bake immediately (if you let it sit or refrigerate it, the crumbs get soggy).

Bake in a 350° oven for 25 to 30 minutes. Sprinkle very lightly with paprika and sprinkle with fresh snipped parsley before serving.

Options: You can add a little minced garlic to the melted butter, too, if desired. And, sometimes I had a dozen large shrimp or scallops. If adding shrimp, increase the amount of crumb topping.

Note: The recipe is easily halved and cooked in an 8×8-inch pan.

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