A little spicy, a little sweet, and a lot of the flavor of New England, and you can easily swap out the fish for tofu!
October! This year most of the fall foliage turned a little early, but here, by the Connecticut River, we’re just catching up. What a vibrant, colorful year it has been! Orange is my favorite color right now, and the curry I made this weekend reflected the season beautifully.
Haddock has always been one of our family’s favorite white fish, the family I grew up in, and my own family now. It is sweet, tender, and quick to cook, with a unique flavor all its own. It can stand up to lots of different flavor combinations.
Always in season, and controlled
In season all year, New England haddock is regulated jointly with Canada to prevent overfishing and thus is readily available as it is in season all year long. I try not to serve any fish to my family that is endangered or not sustainably regulated, and I generally choose something from New England waters, and always check to ensure they are not overfished or in peril. I rely on my local fish mongers to let me know where my seafood is sourced, and they are always knowledgeable and helpful. Make a friend with them, know them by name. it is worth it.
A blank canvas
There are so many ways to cook this fish. My mother often just placed it in a baking dish floated in a little milk and topped with some buttered bread crumbs. Delicious. It is also one of the best fish for a traditional fish fry, in fact, I think it’s my favorite for fish and chips. My idea of fish fry is a light tempura batter quickly friend in a neutral oil, and don’t forget the French fries on the side with a drizzle of malt vinegar. Hmm, haven’t had this in a while! It loves Mediterranean flavors, and is at home on a fish taco as well.
Whatever way you cook it, keep your eye on it. Whitefish of any type overcook quickly and go from perfect to flakes in just a minute!
The curry sauce I made with this dish is vibrant to look at, and a spicy but creamy background for the fish. The haddock does not get lost in the spices; they all play together nicely. If you have a favorite curry blend, please use that (don’t skip the toasted seeds though) because I know we love those blends that we have created based on our own likes.
If the day is warm, enjoy this outside under the delight of colored leaves, even if you need to sit by the fire pit!
New England Haddock in Curry Sauce
- 1 tsp. each mustard and fennel seeds
- 2 tbsp. olive oil
- 1 leek, sliced
- 1 small purple onion, sliced
- 2 sweet Italian frying peppers, sliced
- 1 jalapeno pepper, seeded and sliced thinly
- 4 garlic cloves, minced
- 1-inch knob of ginger, grated
- 1/2 tsp. ground cumin
- ½ tsp. turmeric
- 1 tsp. garam masala
- ¼ tsp. cayenne
- 1 tbsp. honey
- 6 ounces white wine or stock
- 1 can coconut milk
- Salt and pepper to taste
- 1 ½ lb. fresh haddock, cut into portions
In a dry frying pan, place the mustard and fennel seeds. Toast until fragrant and the mustard seeds begin to pop. Cool and place in a mortar and pestle and grind. If you do not have a mortar and pestle, place on a cutting board and grind with the back of a heavy skillet. Set aside.
Add the oil to the frying pan and heat to a shimmer. Add the leek, onion, frying peppers, and jalapeno. Sauté until the onion and leek are translucent and soft. Add the garlic, ginger, cumin, turmeric, garam masala, cayenne, honey, and the toasted seeds, and let the spices bloom together.
Add the white wine or stock and scrape the bottom of the pan to release any glaze. Pour in the coconut milk, heat to a simmer, taste, and season as desired with salt and pepper.
Cut the fish in desired portions, pat dry, season with salt on both sides, and nestle the fish in the sauce. Cover and cook for about five minutes, then remove the pan from the heat, still covered.
Let sit for another five minutes and serve! This is delicious over rice, but you can also put it on pasta, or egg noodles.
Tofu in Curry Sauce
Substitute one brick of extra-firm tofu for the haddock. Press it well for at least 30 minutes (see instructions here), pat dry, slice into desired size, season with salt and pepper, and nestle in the curry just as you would the fist. Delicious!
Other Autumn Delights
The world around my house as Autumn leaves surround me!
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