If my Dad was asked to name his favorite type of fish, he would say haddock. No doubt about it.
I think my Dad’s love affair with haddock began as a boy, growing up in an Italian catholic family in Upstate NY where on Friday nights it was tradition to eat a fried haddock dinner, honoring the “no meat on Fridays” rule.
Though my Dad is especially fond of the fried haddock dinner, served with lemon, tartar sauce, and a side of coleslaw (oh yeah, and probably onion rings too), he enjoys haddock prepared a number of ways. Haddock (smaller cousin to the cod) has a firm texture, and is very mild in flavor; hard not to love this fish.
I have seen my Dad’s eyes light up at a restaurant when the server included haddock as one of the evening’s specials. Even if there was something else on the menu that caught his attention, haddock would win out each and every time.
This was the case on the last evening we spent together up on the lake. Our whole family went out to dinner one last time before we headed our separate ways, away from the lake, and back to our homes in far away states. The memories of a fantastic summer were shared over glasses of wine, and a meal that was equally memorable. The special for the evening was Horseradish Crusted Haddock, served au gratin style, with a crisp golden crust. The bright pungent flavor of the fresh horseradish worked so well with the haddock; just the right amount of heat, without overpowering the delicate nature of the fish.
I thought it would be fun to recreate the dish we enjoyed so much on that last night up on the lake. So Dad, this one is for you. Hope you like it~
Freshly grated horseradish (in season now-winter) really makes the dish
Horseradish Crusted Haddock
1 cup fresh-grated horseradish
1/2 cup chopped parsley
Juice plus zest of 1 lemon
1 tablespoon finely chopped garlic
1 egg white
1/2 teaspoon salt
1/2 teaspoon fresh-ground pepper
1 cup Panko, (Japanese-style breadcrumbs)
1/2 cup extra-virgin olive oil
8 (6-ounce) haddock fillets, skin removed
Heat oven to 425 degrees F. Mix the horseradish, parsley, lemon juice and zest, garlic, egg white, 1/4 teaspoon salt, and 1/4 teaspoon pepper together in a medium bowl. Stir in the breadcrumbs.
Toss 1/4 cup olive oil into the breadcrumb mixture using a fork. Break apart any clumps and set aside. Heat 2 tablespoons of the remaining olive oil in a large skillet over medium-high heat. Season the fillets with the remaining salt and pepper and place 3 of the pieces in the skillet — skin side up. Cook for 2 minutes, gently turn the fillets with a flexible spatula and cook for 1 more minute. Transfer to a baking sheet and repeat with remaining fillets. Top each fillet with an equal amount of breadcrumb mixture, press lightly to adhere, and roast in the oven until the breadcrumb crust is golden and the fish is cooked — 4 to 6 minutes. Serve immediately over a bed of sauteed swiss chard or spinach.