The haddock loin provides the largest percentage of clear flesh that, once deboned, results in thick portions that flake apart easily when cooked. The secret to proper cooking lies in the timing, because even the least overcooking toughens the fish and gives it a rubbery texture. While processors do their best to remove every bone from the fish before it ends up in the grocery case or the fish market, a few may remain, so be sure to inspect the fillets carefully and remove any stray bones before proceeding with your recipe. It's also important to have your cooking oil hot and not to overcrowd the pan to ensure quick, even cooking.
Add enough oil, butter or a combination of both to a large skillet to a depth of about 1 inch and place over medium heat while you prepare the fish. Cut the fish into manageable pieces, since this produces less breakage during cooking.
Beat eggs and milk together in a low-sided wide bowl and pour the flour into a large plate. Blend in the seasonings of your choice and stir with a fork or your fingers to combine.
Be sure the oil and butter are hot but not smoking, dip the first piece of fish into the egg and milk mixture, and then dredge the piece in the flour and seasoning mix. Shake off the excess flour and place the fillet carefully in the hot oil. Repeat the procedure for the remaining pieces of fish, leaving at least 1 inch of space between them.
Cook the haddock fillets for three to five minutes per side or until the flour is golden brown and slightly puffy. Remove the fish to a platter and serve immediately or cover with aluminum foil if you are cooking more than one batch.
Items you will need
- Low-sided wide bowl
- Large plate
- Oil or butter
- Large skillet
- Large platter
- Aluminum foil
- For a heartier change, dip the fillets in a coating of egg, milk and seasoned or plain breadcrumbs or panko. Whisk eggs and milk together in a shallow bowl and have another bowl or plate of the breadcrumbs ready. Dip the fillets in the egg and milk first and then in the crumbs. Shake off the excess and lay gently in the pan in the hot oil. Cook until golden brown, or about two to three minutes, and then turn and repeat on the other side.
- If all you have is a small skillet, cook the fish in multiple batches, keeping the first batch warm on a platter in an oven set at 250 degrees Fahrenheit.
- Accompaniments for pan-fried haddock fillets include freshly-squeeze lemon juice, tartar sauce or cocktail sauce. Because fish cools quickly once it's removed from the pan, have any condiments at room temperature before serving.
- You can cut calories by baking the loin fillets in a pan coated with pan spray. Allow enough space between the fillets and bake at 425 degrees Fahrenheit for about 10 minutes or until the fish is opaque and flakes easily.
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