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Why You Should Try Haddock

Haddock is best known as a top choice for classic beer-battered fish and chips. But this delectable and versatile fish can offer so much more in terms of exciting new cuisine and dishes. In this article, let’s get to know the haddock a little better, its taste, nutritional value, sustainability, and most importantly, some delectable recipes to inspire your culinary adventures.

Haddock Basics

Haddock, Melanogrammus aeglefinus, stands out with its distinctive appearance. Its elongated, tapered body is covered in shiny, silvery scales. Its distinguishing feature is the dark, lateral line that runs along its sides, with a dark mark like a thumbprint right behind the pectoral fin. This unique marking sets haddock apart, making it easily recognizable in the fish market. Haddock typically grows to a length of about 35 – 58 cm, weighing anywhere between 1kg and 4kgs.

Where is Haddock Caught?

These fish prefer cold waters, and their habitat spans the North Atlantic Ocean, with the North Sea and the North Atlantic coasts of the UK being prime locations for haddock fishing. The majority of haddock sold in the UK is wild-caught. They thrive in depths ranging from 40 to 200 meters. Haddock primarily feed on smaller fish, crustaceans, and other sea creatures near the sea bed. 

What Does Haddock Taste Like?

The flavor of haddock is mild and slightly sweet. It’s a lean white fish often compared to cod, but has a slightly sweeter note and a more robust fish flavour. Compared to cod, haddock’s texture is also more tender.

Haddock is an ideal fish for smoking due to its subtle sweet notes. Smoked haddock is available in a few varieties with differing intensities of smoky aroma and saltiness. 

Pale Smoked Haddock is lightly smoked with no added dye, hence the natural colour is retained.  

Dark Smoked Haddock has a stronger flavour, and the yellow dye adds to the distinct look.

Aberdeen Boneless is a whole haddock smoked on one side and then completely deboned. This method of smoking infuses the flesh with even more flavour, making it ideal for dishes like Cullen Skink.

Arbroath Smokies is hot-smoked, unboned haddock. During the smoking process the skin becomes golden brown while the smoked flesh remains creamy white with a light, sweet flavour that has to be tasted to be believed.  

Do You Have to Poach Haddock in Milk?

Soaking fish or seafood in milk has often been touted as a method to reduce the ‘fishy flavour.’ But have you heard about poaching fish in milk?

Haddock is a naturally sweet fish that can be enhanced by poaching in milk. You can poach both fresh fillets and smoked haddock to achieve a richer flavour.

Is Haddock a Healthy Fish?

This fish is a good source of protein, omega-3 fatty acids, vitamins, and minerals. It’s lean, relatively low in calories and low in fat. Haddock is considered a low-mercury fish, this distinguishes it from certain larger predatory fish, which may accumulate higher levels of mercury.

Is Haddock a Sustainable Fish?

Haddock is generally considered to be a sustainable fish. Because cod and haddock are in such high demand in the UK, it has been in the best interest of fisheries to follow sustainable practices. Overall haddock stocks are well-managed and haddock fisheries are relatively well-regulated.

In the North Atlantic Ocean, where most of the world’s haddock is caught, haddock stocks are considered to be healthy and sustainable. The International Council for the Exploration of the Sea (ICES) has set sustainable catch limits for haddock in the North Atlantic, and these catch limits are generally being respected by fisheries.

If you are interested in white fish alternatives, why not try hake, sea bass, plaice, or sea bream?

What are Some Exciting Haddock Recipes?

Let’s explore some recipe ideas that combine local ingredients, classic dishes, and spices from around the world.

Fresh Haddock

For a refreshing steamed fish dish with lemongrass, ginger, sesame oil and chilis, we recommend this Thai Style Haddock. Cooking “en papillote” is a gentle cooking method that helps the fish retain moisture and tenderness.

This Haddock with Sea Beet Soup combines vegetable stock, sea beet (or watercress), potatoes, onion, and garlic for a vibrantly colored soup. The pan-fried and baked haddock topped with sea salt and olive oil adds texture and savoury element to this healthy dish.

If you are craving baked fish with cumin, coriander marinade, topped with a tahini sauce, check out this Baked Haddock recipe. It also features a cabbage salad and shallow fried onions to pair with the dish.

baked haddock and potatoes

Steamed Haddock with Saffron Mash and Gremolada is a simple dish that sings with the aroma of saffron and the brightness of the gremolada. Use the larger angel-cut haddock fillets for a beautiful presentation. 

Smoked Haddock

Brown Butter Smoked Haddock adds a richer toasted aroma to the smoked fish. The dish combines a potato and spinach omelet with the added spice from fresh curry leaves and acid from a light tomato salsa.

For a smoked haddock dish with spiced basmati rice, why not try this Kedgeree recipe? This warm, comforting dish serves as a full hearty meal, for brunch, lunch or dinner. 

This Poached Smoked Haddock is paired with a poached egg, mash and some greens pan fried in butter. The poached egg adds richness and fullness to the dish.

Smoked Haddock is great for the classic, creamy Cullen Skink. We recommend the lightly smoked variety for this preparation, and poaching in milk adds a softness and creaminess that will enhance the fish’s flavour. 

Where Can You Order Fresh and Smoked Haddock?

Haddock is a treasure trove of culinary possibilities. Whether you’re craving the taste of classic fish and chips or exploring more novel dishes, haddock is versatile and easy to prepare. Ready to order fresh haddock? Check out our fresh fillets. 

Looking for the unique flavour of smoked haddock? You can choose from our selection:

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