Monday, October 15, 2012

Tips for Pan-frying White Fish and a Cajun-Seasoned Haddock Recipe

I just have a slight obsession with my cast-iron skillet. Therefore as a result, whenever I buy haddock (or catfish or snapper or tilapia), I jump at the opportunity to throw my 15lb cast-iron behemoth up onto the stove. And of course, the well-season skillet does wonders for locking-in and enriching the flavors of fish (and meat).

Pan-frying white fish is just another example of simple cooking that looks wayyy too impressive for the actual effort that you've put in. 

Tips for Pan-Frying White Fish
1. Avoid "deep-frying" - There's a time when you can have too much olive oil (there, I've said it!). Be aware of how much oil you're putting into your pan.  A little bit of olive olive oil goes a long way; your cast-iron skillet should already be nicely seasoned and too much oil will make your food too oily.  A tablespoon or so should easily do the trick.

2. Use butter for that golden brown char - Olive oil... coconut oil... avocado oil... All excellent, healthy oils to use while cooking; however...sometimes (well maybe all the time) you just want the goodness of butter.  Don't sweat it, a few tablespoons of butter isn't going to hurt and she won't notice.

3. Use dry seasoning instead of liquid marinades - Salt and pepper. Cajun-spices. Ancho chili rub. Blackening powder. I'm a big fan of using spices (rather than marinades) for delicate white fish. Liquid-based marinades overpower the fish.

Cast-Iron Fried, Cajun-Seasoned Haddock Recipe
Like most of my recipes on this site, most of these ingredients can be swapped out with others. My goal is for you to be comfortable just "winging it" after a few times.
Seasoned with a pre-made, Cajun seasoning

  • Haddock (or catfish or tilapia)
  • Cajun-Seasoning (or a creole or blackening seasoning)
  • Pepper or a dash of cayenne powder (for heat)
  • A few tablespoons of butter
  • Cast-Iron Skillet

Flesh side down at first
  1. Unwrap haddock from packaging, rinse, and pat dry
  2. Heat the cast-iron skillet to medium-high
  3. Season the fish (see the picture below)
  4. Throw the butter into the skillet
  5. Place the fish (fleshy side down, skin side up) into the pan
  6. Cook for about 6 minutes. 
    1. Flip once after 3 minutes or so.  
    2. Cover the pan for a minute or two if you're nervous the fish won't cook. 
    3. Remember, if you've found your baseline cook time, the fish is going to take less time than steak
  7. Remove fish when the center is opaque
  8. Serve with fresh lemon 

Possible Sides
  • Pan-fried okra or fresh green beans
  • Sliced, roasted tomatoes
  • Quinoa or wild, long-grain rice
  • A crisp, cold white wine
That was a terrible display of spatula skills. Good thing this was just for me

1 comment:

  1. What I liked about Haddock is that it is an excellent source of protein. A 3oz serving of cooked haddock gives you about 20.6 g of protein, which is already 40% of the recommended daily intake. It is also one of the great sources of most B vitamins.

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