A round-bodied, saltwater fish, haddock is a member of the cod family. It is smaller than cod and has a firmer white flesh and a more delicate flavour.
Haddock is usually bought either in fillets or steaks, although a whole fish is delicious stuffed and baked.
The best season for haddock is between November and February, but nowadays, because of the high quality of commercial quick-freezing, it is available frozen all the year round.
Haddock may be cooked in many ways and any method used for white fish is suitable. Fillets or steaks poached in a court bouillon or stock make a light, easily digestible meal and can be served with a sauce. To poach fish, bring the liquid with the fish to the boil and lower the heat so that the liquid just simmers. Cook for about 6 minutes.
To shallow fry haddock, the fish is lightly coated with flour and fried in butter. When the fish is cooked, add a little lemon juice to the butter. Serve this with the fish.
If the fish is to be fried in deep fat it should be coated in beaten egg and crumbs or in a batter, otherwise the fish will fall apart and be very greasy.
Grilled haddock should be brushed with melted fat on both sides before cooking.
Haddock is also available smoked which gives it an additional flavour. Smoking is a process that takes time and care and is why the true smoked haddock, which is a pale yellow colour, is sometimes more expensive. Some curers use a dye for quickness and cheapness and this gives the fish a harsh yellow colour.
Smoked haddock is generally cooked with milk either on top of the stove for about 6 minutes or in the oven. It is also the traditional fish to use in a kedgeree.