If you’ve ever eaten a fish stick, you’ve probably eaten Alaskan pollock. The mild white fish is in hundreds of fish products, from fast-food fish sandwiches, fish and chips, breaded fish sticks and fresh or frozen fillets to “surimi” products, better known to U.S. palates as imitation crab, lobster or shrimp. But breaded and fried isn’t the only way to prepare this delicate, flaky whitefish. Try broiling, poaching and baking pollock fillets or simmering in a savory soup.
Infuse Flavors With Broiling
Broiling Alaskan pollock fillets on the stove in a skillet or under the oven broiler takes less than 10 minutes and only a few ingredients. Preparation can be as simple as drizzling lemon juice over salted and peppered fillets, then cooking them in melted butter and garlic for three or four minutes per side in a covered skillet. Make a golden crust with fresher twist than typical breadcrumbs by whisking together mayonnaise, lemon juice and zest, thyme, anchovy paste and a chopped shallot to spread over fillets. Then broil them, skin-side down, about 6 inches below the heating element for six to eight minutes.
Try Poaching in Milk
Poaching whitefish like Alaskan pollock in milk is a healthy alternative to serving it breaded and fried. Use 1/2 cup of skim milk per pound of pollock fillets. Flavor the fillets and milk with a bay leaf, Parmesan cheese, seasoned bread crumbs or parsley. Place the fillets in a baking dish, add the milk and other ingredients, then bake for 15 minutes at 400 degrees Fahrenheit. You can also cook the fish and other ingredients in a pan on the stove top for 10 minutes, on low heat. Serve the fillets with veggies on the side to keep the meal healthy.
Bake Pollock in Parchment
Whitefish like Alaska pollock is a good source of necessary nutrients like omega-3 fatty acids and protein while also being low in calories and saturated fat. Keep it healthy by baking Alaska pollock in parchment paper. While your oven is preheating to 400 degrees Fahrenheit, arrange sliced squash, broccoli florets and minced garlic on a 12-inch square of parchment paper that has been creased down the center. Place the vegetables along one side of the crease. Dress them lightly with olive oil, salt and pepper. Put the fillets on the vegetables. Add salt and pepper, top with fresh herbs and give it a squeeze of lemon juice. Fold the longer side of the parchment paper over the fish and crease the edges to seal them. Bake the packets on a baking sheet or broiling pan for about 20 minutes. The parchment paper will puff up and turn light brown. Leave them closed while in the oven and let them cool for three minutes after baking before opening them.
Simmer Pollock in a Savory Soup
Making a fish soup with Alaska pollock fillets is a simple, inexpensive and nutritious way to prepare the mild whitefish. You can use fresh or frozen fillets and only need about ¾ of a pound of fillets to make enough soup to feed four or five people. Add the fillets to sautéed onions and celery and chopped potatoes and carrots in a soup pot. Add enough water to cover the ingredients, then add double the amount of water, usually 5 to 6 cups total. Bring the soup to a boil, lower the heat to a simmer and cook for 30 minutes. Pre-cooking the fish in olive oil is an option; if you precook the fish, reduce the soup’s cooking time by 10 minutes. Seasonings like garlic powder and cayenne pepper can add a bit of heat to the soup; egg or soup noodles make the soup even heartier.
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KW Schumer is an award-winning newspaper editor, reporter and writer with more than 15 years of experience working for large, mid-sized and community newspaper companies. She also writes the food blog Chef HJ's Table with her husband, a professional chef and the director and chef-instructor of a culinary school.