Haddock was born for breadcrumbs. The fish is a saltwater relative to cod, found in northern seas of North America, according to Waitrose, the upmarket chain of British supermarkets. Haddock's delicate flesh tastes delicious against the crunch of crumb. Of course, cooking times depend on the size of the haddock piece and the cooking method you choose. Breaded haddock comes in the form of large fillets or small strips, with the latter taking much less time to cook. Similarly, frying is faster than baking.
Bakes Till It Flakes
When haddock flesh turns opaque and small flakes come away easily with a fork, it's usually ready to eat. However, if you don't want to break up one of your breaded haddock fillets to check the texture, use a cooking thermometer. The center of the fish must reach 145 degrees Fahrenheit before it's safe to eat, according to the FDA. So, even if you're cooking to a recipe with a recommended cooking time, it's worth testing the fish before eating.
Fry Fat Fillets Longer
As you might imagine, the fatter the fillet, the longer it takes to cook. For example, haddock cut into small strips and coated in egg wash and breadcrumbs makes excellent goujons. These take only three to four minutes to deep-fry, according to famous British TV chef James Martin, as shared on the website of the BBC. A larger whole piece of haddock will take five minutes or more to deep-fry. In general, when baking or shallow-frying a thick piece of haddock, lower the temperature slightly and cook more slowly to ensure the center is heated properly.
Fry in a Flash
Breaded haddock suits baking, deep-frying or shallow frying. You can also grill your fillet, though this runs the risk of burning the breadcrumbs without cooking the fish. Breaded haddock doesn't suit barbecuing, poaching or steaming. In general, the fastest cooking method is deep-frying in oil at around 370 degrees F. Shallow frying in a little oil is also relatively quick, requiring around four minutes per side for a medium fillet, with a couple of minutes extra to crisp up the breadcrumbs. Oven-baked breaded haddock can take around 20 minutes in an oven set to 350 degrees F.
Fresh Is Best
When picking out haddock to coat in breadcrumbs, look for the freshest possible fish. Whole fish that have sunken eyes, green gills and soft flesh are well past their best. Fillets that have turned gray and give off a smell of ammonia have turned bad. Fresh haddock will also hold together better in the breadcrumb mix and taste better overall. And no matter how long you cook a piece of rancid haddock, it will still taste foul.
- Photo Credit Stockbyte/Stockbyte/Getty Images