Whether poached, smoked, pan-fried or roasted, haddock’s distinctively delicious taste makes it a mealtime favourite. The saltwater fish, found in the North Atlantic, has a lean, firm, white flesh that makes it especially versatile. Here, we look at the unique qualities of haddock, why it should be enjoyed regularly, and how to prepare it.
Big on B vitamins
Haddock is particularly high in vitamin B12 – a very important vitamin that supports the production of healthy red blood cells which carry oxygen around the body. Not consuming enough B12 can lead to a condition that makes the body produce larger than normal red blood cells, which don’t function as well as they should.
Haddock also contains significant levels of B6 which allows us to store energy from protein and carbohydrates, helping to reduce fatigue. Vitamin B6 is essential for red blood cell formation, and also contributes to regulating mood.
Mighty on minerals
Minerals are often overlooked when we think about diet and nutrition but play a vital role in maintaining our health. Haddock contains a good mix of minerals, including phosphorus, magnesium, potassium, iron, calcium, sodium, zinc, copper and manganese. It is highest in selenium, which helps support the body’s immune system. It is also thought to have antioxidant properties, protecting cells from damage.
Low cal and lean
Haddock is naturally low in fat and great for anyone on a health kick, with an average 150g fillet containing 136 calories. It’s packed with protein but has no carbohydrate content. The three macronutrients – fats, carbohydrate and protein – affect our bodies in different ways, with protein thought to help you feel fuller making it easier to control your daily calorie intake. Eating a diet high in protein is also believed to help us build muscle mass and strength which is why high-protein diets are favoured by athletes and those who work out regularly.
Ways to enjoy
One of the easiest ways to eat haddock is to use smoked fillets to make Cullen Skink – a quick and tasty family favourite prepared simply by cooking with onion and potatoes in milk. Smoked haddock is also delicious in a fish pie.
While eating battered haddock in the form of fish and chips is one of the UK’s best-loved dishes, pan frying haddock is a fantastic way to enjoy its full flavour without fuss. For a quick and healthy week-night meal, all you have to do is heat some olive oil in a frying pan and fry the haddock skin-side down until golden-brown and serve seasoned with a squeeze of lemon juice alongside your favourite salad or vegetables.
For an equally easy alternative, slightly higher in calories, lightly flour the skinned side of the haddock and season the other. Cook the fish in olive oil in a pan skin-side down, before turning, covering with a knob of butter and cooking for another couple of minutes.