Flaky and succulent haddock dishes
With its firm white flesh and delicate flavour, haddock lends itself to a variety of light and tasty dishes for spring suppers
Haddock’s creamy white flesh falls away from the fork in light flakes, its flavour subtle and slightly sweet. This saltwater fish belongs to the Gadidae family, which also includes whiting, pollack and cod. Like the latter, it is a staple on most chip shop menus and in the north of England and Scotland is often the most popular choice for a portion of fish and chips. However, this is a versatile fish that can be enjoyed in a number of ways, whether fresh, smoked or dried.
Fresh haddock is often baked whole, sometimes with the skin on, or included in a fish pie. Whether bought whole or in fillets, fish is chosen with firm, white flesh and a smell of the ocean that is not unpleasant. Haddock also takes very well to being smoked and has been preserved in this way in the smokehouses of Grimsby for 150 years and in Arbroath since the 1800s. The process generally begins with salting, before the fish is dried and finally smoked. However, different and very precise methods can be applied to each stage and vary by region. Both Abroath smokies and Grimsby smoked fish are now registered as being of Protected Geographical Indication. The process imparts a golden colouring on the otherwise pale meat, a more salty flavour and drier texture. Haddock is very high in protein, naturally lean and low in fat. It also provides large amounts of Vitamin B12, which cannot be produced by the human body so must be found in food, and niacin, which can improve joint mobility and help ease the symptoms of arthritis. Its breeding season runs from March until April, at which time shoals are allowed to replenish. In May, it comes back into season as a favoured dish.