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Context: I'm a poor and lazy college student. I have breaded frozen pieces of cod from costco. I like to bake them in my toaster-oven on aluminum foil to avoid having to clean the baking dish/tray. This brand (janes) is the only kind they have at costco and the problem is the center of the breading sort of sticks to the alumnium foil.

How can I avoid this? I've thought about applying a small quantity oil , but rather put the effort and money immediately into trying that, I'd like to consult the experts.

  • I am not fond of spray oils as I find that they tend to make pans sticky. Yes, a contradiction of why you are using the oil in the first place, but a reality due to the thin layer the spray applies which then can have a tendency to over heat and turn sticky especially with repeated application. But, in your case, using aluminum foil which you then discard, and that consideration goes away. Quick and easy application without large amounts of oil added to your dish. – dlb May 6 '17 at 22:52
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One possible work around is to put a couple of chopsticks between the foil and the fish so that there is no direct contact with the foil, a cheap rack. Or you can roll up some extra foil into little rods to achieve the same.

Protein-laden water seeps out of the fish and makes a glue between the fish and the foil. By raising the fish, you get some air currents and the glue is kept away from the fish. Cooking from frozen exacerbates this because initially all the heat goes into the frozen water to melt it without raising the temperature of the fish above freezing point. There is little evaporation going on at such low temperature.

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Parchment paper is much less prone to food sticking to it. I use it for lots of sticky or fragile food, such as fish or sticky chicken wings.

If you usually have your fish entirely covered in aluminum, you can do the same with parchment paper, this is called a papillote. Example

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You can put a small amount of oil on the foil and that should solve your problem. But if you want to make it even easier, get some non-stick aluminum foil. No promotion intended, but a widely available brand is Reynolds Wrap Release.

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You could use a silicone baking pan liner. I would preheat it in the oven and then just place the fish on it. No oil needed, the bottom may still not get as crispy as the the top. ( crispy is the point of breading on fish ) Possibly turn the fish about 3/4 of the way thru the bake time.

Perhaps a nonstick baking rack or frying it in a nonstick pan with out oil? use healthier oils? Or come the dark side and wrap it in bacon and deep fry that sucker. mmmmm

  • If the OP is a lazy student, I'm assuming that means they don't want to do dishes, so while a silicone liner would be great, it has to be washed. – Catija May 9 '17 at 22:02
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Look for jars of cheap canola spray. Doesn't take much to keep it from sticking.

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