When I was visiting my German boyfriend (now my husband!) when he still lived in Germany over 10 years ago, I often bought him a frozen ready meal called Schlemmerfilet Bordelaise. It was so convenient; I’d just pop it in the oven and he’d gulp it down with gusto, because Schlemmerfilet Bordelaise is one of those classic German comfort foods. (Basically, it’s just Alaskan pollock crusted with a crunchy, buttery herbed crust.) And it really overdelivered: all you had to do was grab the package from the supermarket’s freezer, throw it into the oven at home, and a hearty, heavenly-tasting meal would be ready in no time.
But the commercial version is full of harmful ingredients, like wheat flour, glucose, rapeseed oil, rice starch, dehydrated glucose syrup, and sugar. They’re definitely not suitable ingredients for a keto lifestyle—or for any other type of healthy lifestyle, for that matter!
Ten years ago I was vegetarian, but nowadays I eat fish and I started missing this tasty and convenient comfort food, so I developed my own clean, keto-friendly version. Not only is it much healthier than the store-bought version, it tastes even better!
Für die deutsche Version dieses selbstgemachten Schlemmerfilet Bordelaise Rezeptes (ohne Gluten, keto-freundlich und kohlenhydratarm), bitte den Fensterinhalt nach unten verschieben.
Tips for making this Herbed Almond and Parmesan Crusted Fish
You can use any type of frozen white fish you prefer. Just remember to choose sustainable fish. I like to use Alaskan pollock cut into single servings, because it’s easy to prepare and serve that way.
Don’t defrost the fish before baking: it’s easier to press the topping onto frozen fish. If you don’t have gloves, use wet hands so that the mixture won’t get stuck to your fingers.
If you want to make a zero-carb version and use crushed pork rinds instead of almond flour, make sure that the pork rinds are evenly crushed and resemble coarse meal. My food processor isn’t very effective and some bigger pieces were left in the topping mixture. They were fairly tough in the final dish.
Personally, I don’t add salt to this dish, because butter and Parmesan (and pork rinds!) are already salty. I love using plenty of salt in my food, but the ingredients for this dish contain enough salt that I don’t need to add any extra
But let’s take a look at how to prepare this easy keto dish:
Place the fish fillets into a glass or ceramic baking dish.
Beware of the cat!
Prepare the topping: combine the butter…
…almond flour (or crushed pork rinds)…
…herb seasoning, and the salt, if using, in a medium bowl.
Mix with an electric mixer…
Press the topping evenly onto the tops of the fish fillets…
Bake in the preheated oven…
…for 35-40 minutes, or until the juices run clear and the topping is golden brown.
My Schlemmerfilet Bordelaise experiments
Like I said, this Schlemmerfilet Bordelaise dish was one of my husband’s favorites when he was still living in Germany. At that point, I couldn’t sample the dish because I was a strict vegetarian. No fish or meat for me!
Because I was vegetarian and then turned into a low-carber eating only gluten-free food, I have to confess I actually never tasted the store-bought gluten and starch-laden Schlemmerfilet Bordelaise my husband loved so much. But I made it for him a zillion times, so I still got a good sense of the dish’s texture and aroma.
However, when I got pregnant in 2010, I started eating organic fish and meat. This was difficult at first, because I had been vegetarian for 20 years, but my body (and the baby’s!) was craving nourishing, protein-rich food. So my vegetarian era ended, and I became a happy, healthy omnivore, eating clean, nutrient-dense, low-carb food. Soon, my migraines, depression, panic disorder, and anemia (among other conditions!) vanished like bad dreams. But that’s another story.
In the course of my never-ending search for easy recipes, I suddenly remembered this dish. I was sure I could create something similar — even better! — with only 5 ingredients, without gluten, and without breaking the carb bank.
The original store-bought version contained Alaskan pollock, so I decided to use it in my experiments as well. (Frozen Alaskan pollock fillets are a perfect choice for easy meals in general.)
But I really needed to think about what to use in the topping. The commercial version contained breading, which contained wheat flour. I had to replace that with a gluten-free, low-carb option. I often use a mixture of almond flour, psyllium, and onion powder when I make breading for, say, Wiener schnitzels or chicken nuggets. Psyllium makes the mixture hold together well, and onion powder adds flavor (I use onion powder in just about every savory dish! –but this Herbed Almond and Parmesan Crusted Fish is a rare exception…)
I remember I had tried to make some low-carb experiments with Schlemmerfilet Bordelaise several years, ago but unfortunately I didn’t make any notes. What a pity! I remember I used almond flour and some butter to bind the topping. Now I decided to go with almond flour again, although I was also considering crushed pork rinds; they would have been a perfect zero-carb option. Well, I definitely had to try them out later, I thought, but first I wanted to see if I could succeed with almond flour.
So, I’d decided on two ingredients: almond flour, which would mimic bread crumbs, and butter for binding. I had a clear picture in my mind: butter was perfect for this purpose since oil would have created too runny a result, and would have made the breading fall off of the fish. Salted, softened butter sounded like the perfect binding agent for the topping.
But would butter and almond flour alone be enough for the topping? That sounded pretty bland to me. I tried to remember what else I used in the experiments I’d conducted some years ago, but couldn’t remember. Well, I certainly needed some herbs, I thought. Parsley, definitely: maybe also thyme? I decided to take the easy route and choose a herb blend called Herbs of Italy. It contained oregano, thyme, basil, garlic, black pepper, tarragon, red bell pepper, and chives. That sounded just perfect for this dish, as the original commercial version also smelled pretty herby.
But I was still hesitating a bit. I felt something was missing. I was afraid the result would be too bland with these ingredients. The fish itself was almost tasteless, and so were almond flour and butter (okay, I do LOVE the taste of salted butter, but c’mon: it’s not really very flavorful, just salty).
Then it suddenly occurred to me that freshly grated Parmesan was just the ingredient that was missing! It would supply the missing flavor in the most delicious way, and it also would work as bulk ingredient, ensuring there would be enough topping on the fish: I wanted an enormously thick layer of tasty crust!
I couldn’t take my thinking cap off just yet, though. Next, I had to decide on the amounts. The most challenging ingredient seemed to be the butter: if I used too little, the crust would turn out too dry. And if I used too much, the breading would just fall off the fish and create a huge, buttery pond in the bottom of the baking dish. (Not that I have anything against huge buttery ponds — they are delicious! — but I didn’t want the fish to be swimming in butter. It had been swimming in the sea already, and that was enough swimming for me.)
Even though I tried to do some serious calculations, I didn’t have any clue as to how much almond flour, Parmesan, or butter I should use. So I decided to just start experimenting blindly.
For my first experiment, I took 14 oz (400 g) frozen Alaska pollock fillets, and for the topping I used 2 oz (60 g) butter, 1/2 cup (120 ml) almond flour, 1/2 cup (120 ml) freshly grated Parmesan, and 2 teaspoons Herbs of Italy seasoning.
I placed the topping ingredients into a bowl and started mixing by hand, but soon I realized an electric mixer would be much handier.
To my surprise, the mixture looked (and smelled!) fabulous. It was thick, like dough. I started pressing it onto the frozen fish with bare hands. The mixture didn’t want to stick to the fish at all, but it was very happy to stick to my hands! I decided to try again using moistened fingers and that helped: the mixture was easy to press onto the fish without sticking to my hands. Later, I used rubber gloves (as you will see in the video and the progress photos) and they worked well, too.
What about the baking time and temperature? The store-bought version needed 35 minutes at 250 °C (482 °F). I didn’t want to use that high of a temperature because over the years I’ve learned that anything with almond flour needs to be baked at a lower temperature: otherwise it burns, or at least turns out too brown. I decided to go with 175 °C (350 °F) and just take a peek every now and then to see when the fish would be ready.
The ideal baking time in my time-worn oven (with a broken door, thanks to my son, who hung from the handle when he was two years old) was 40 minutes. I think something between 30 and 40 minutes would suffice with a normal, well-functioning oven.
To my surprise, the consistency of the topping was just perfect. And it tasted super-delicious! Adding Parmesan definitely seemed to have been the right choice (which is why I wanted to call the dish Herbed Almond and Parmesan Crusted Fish, in addition to “Schlemmerfilet Bordelaise,” because it better explains what it’s about). Oh yes: also, the fish was juicy and flaky. The tasty, slightly crunchy topping made a great partner for the succulent fish.
I just had one tiny piece of criticism: there wasn’t enough topping. I would have liked to have had that really thick layer of crust I’d been dreaming of. So, for my next experiment, I decided to increase the amounts of the topping ingredients, but keep the ratios the same. In it, I used the amounts you’ll see in the final recipe below. I also tried a version in which I replaced the almond flour with crushed pork rinds. Again, I thought I might need to change the amounts in case the pork rinds behaved differently, but the result was just perfect.
Our whole family (especially my husband!) enjoyed my Herbed Almond And Parmesan Crusted Fish experiments down to the last crumble of crust. Personally, I preferred the version with crushed pork rinds, while my husband raved about the version with almond flour.
By now you must be dying to see the recipe, right?
First, here’s the video on how to prepare the Herbed Almond and Parmesan Crusted Fish:
And here’s the recipe. Enjoy!
- 1 lb = 450 g Alaska pollock OR other white fish fillets, frozen
- 3 oz = 75 g salted butter, softened
- 2/3 cup = 160 ml almond flour OR crushed pork rinds
- 2/3 cup = 160 ml freshly grated Parmesan
- 2 teaspoons Italian herb seasoning OR Herbes de Provence
- (Optional: to taste unrefined sea salt OR Himalayan salt)
- Preheat the oven to 350 °F (175 °C).
- Place the fish fillets into a glass or ceramic baking dish.
- Prepare the topping: combine the butter, almond flour (or crushed pork rinds), Parmesan, herb seasoning and the salt (if using) in a medium bowl. Mix with an electric mixer until well-combined.
- Press the topping evenly on top of the fish fillets.
- Bake in the preheated oven for 35-40 minutes, or until the juices run clear and the topping is golden brown.
When I saw the recipe name in my inbox I couldn’t believe my luck. Schlemmerfilet Bordelaise- my comfort food back in Germany and dearly missed here in the US.
After looking into several supermarkets I ended up with cod that was unfortunately not “brick-like” as your pollock, but I thought I give it a try anyway. Also I wanted to try the almond version (because to be honest, I trusted your husband in being the Schlemmerfilet expert) but I ended up with the pork rinds (not enough almond flour in the house). I used italian seasoning.
To make a long story short- this german family is in Bordelaise heaven. I loved the flavor and the texture of the crust, the fish was just right not dry or anything. It is also easy and fast to prepare- just wonderful.
I will try other herb mixes and will continue looking for the perfect fish fillet.
Thank you very much for this wonderful recipe.
Hi Simone, thank you for sharing your story! So great to hear your family liked the recipe!
I love a good fish recipe and buttery fish…WITH a crust…well, what can I say?
Let me ask…the “grated” parm that you can buy next to the spaghetti sauce is all I have right now. Yours looks more like the proper “shredded” grated parm that you can buy in bags or grate at home from a solid chunk. Do you think it would work with either one, or was there a size preference?
Hi Jennifer, I grated the parm myself from a solid chunk, but the store-bought should work equally well in this recipe. I think the flavor is not that sharp, though. Hope you’ll like the dish!
Wow, cannot wait to try this one tonight! I am so thankful for your easy and delicious recipes. I find them to be so easy to follow, convenient, and appealing to the whole family. Thank you so much for your talent in coming up with these, and for sharing them with all of us!
Thank you, Jennifer, for your kind words!