Chef Joel's Horseradish-Encrusted Whitefish Recipe

I once asked the chef at a very exquisite fine-dining restaurant if he would share with me his recipe for horseradish-encrusted whitefish -- an awesome dish but a recipe that I had assumed would be quite difficult to replicate; surprisingly... it was not.

Original hand-written version of Chef Joel's recipe

The only "catch" is that he did not share the exact amounts of the ingredients. But I found -- and with only a tiny bit of experimentation -- that it was quite easy to reproduce the horseradish topping and create an incredibly great-tasting meal with a minimum of effort. The crust works well on a variety of white-fleshed fish, so don't be afraid to experiment and find one that best suits your taste!

Horseradish-Encrusted Fish
Note: Fresh horseradish is not always easy to find, so I usually use the prepared version. I also use prepared mayo (like Hellmann's), since it saves me a lot of time in preparation.


  • Filet of Lake Superior whitefish  (although I have made the dish with walleye, cod, red snapper and halibut)
  • Grated fresh horseradish (the prepared version works quite well, too)
  • Garlic (Fresh garlic, finely-chopped is best; garlic powder will also work
  • Homemade mayonnaise (Prepared mayo works just as well)
  • Plain bread crumbs
  • White wine (I often use dry vermouth)
  • Salt & Pepper (I like to use white pepper with fish -- it's milder)


Mix the horseradish and mayonnaise to a paste; add the spices and a bit of white wine; chill to thicken.  Spread the mix on top (rib cage side) of fillet that is resting on a thin layer of bread crumbs; add a generous portion of bread crumbs on top of the horseradish mixture.  Note: In this instance, I used red snapper instead of whitefish. 

Spreading the horseradish paste on the fillet

Start the fish in a preheated, very hot and lightly-oiled pan (heavy duty aluminum works best, or a cast-iron skillet -- only about a minute or so on the cook-top with skin side down.  (And, as always, I remove the skin from all my fillets prior to cooking) 

Starting the fish on the stovetop

Transfer pan to (no need to turn the fish) a hot (425 degrees) oven for about eight to ten minutes -- depending on fillet thickness -- to finish. The bread crumbs will have formed a nice and lightly-browned crust. Be careful not to overcook!

Ready to serve!

A bit of fresh lemon juice may be squeezed over the top of the finished fish but it is not necessary, as the horseradish adds the flavor. You can experiment to get the right amount of horseradish to suit your taste buds, but that's all there is to making a great meal in a fairly short amount of time -- enjoy!