I’m not sure about you, but I don’t have much experience cooking Pollock. In fact, if not for the community fish share (CSF) I recently joined, I wouldn’t be writing about it here at all. Every week, Sarah, the friendly woman in charge, hands over two pounds of a mystery fish straight off the fishing boat, and offers me some cooking suggestions based on her experience.*
It turns out that Pollock looks and tastes a lot like Cod. It’s a slightly meatier white fish, with a similar mild flavor. Most importantly, it passes the chicken test. If it looks remotely like chicken, and tastes remotely like chicken, I occasionally lie to my three-year-old and call it chicken. Naturally, he began insisting he didn’t like fish right around the time we joined the CSF. Thankfully, Sarah’s given us mostly cod, pollock and haddock so far. We’ve been eating a LOT of chicken.
If you’re not comfortable outright lying to your kid, I’ve also tried mumbling that it’s “like chicken” as I put it down on the table. Or, sometimes I act intentionally vague, changing the subject or asking the kids to tell me a story about their day while shoving a bite into their mouth. If it tastes good, they usually forget about their need to label it.
This dish passes all of my parental weeknight meal tests too. It takes about 20 minutes from start to finish, requires one pan and one cutting board, and uses inexpensive, common ingredients. When you’re done cooking, the house smells an Italian restaurant serving a scampi special, and the rich, colorful dinner plates belie an inexpensive and quick preparation. Not surprisingly, the dish is versatile too. Don’t worry if you don’t have Pollock. You can substitute cod, haddock, or, you guessed it … chicken.
*If you live locally and are interested in learning more about the NH Community Seafood’s CSF, go here.
**In these photos I actually substituted Cod for Pollock, and have also made this dish with equal success using Hake and Haddock. Here, I piled the fish and mushrooms over pan-roasted fingerling potatoes and sautéed spinach for a complete meal, but the fish also tastes great over mashed potatoes or rice.
- 3 tablespoons unsalted butter
- 8 ounces white button mushrooms, thinly sliced (about 1/8-inch thick)
- 1 pound Pollock fillet (or other flaky white fish), cut into four pieces and lightly salted
- ½ teaspoon salt, several grinds of black pepper
- 2 cloves garlic, minced
- ½ cup dry white wine
- 2 teaspoons lemon juice
- 1 tablespoon finely chopped parsley
- Heat a 10-inch skillet over medium-high heat for one minute. Add 2 tablespoons butter, swirling to coat the bottom of the pan. Add the mushrooms and cook, undisturbed, for 4 minutes so they caramelize on one side. Stir, and cook an additional 3 minutes, turning occasionally as they start to brown. Reduce the heat to medium-low. Add the garlic and cook, stirring, for 30 seconds. Add the wine and lemon juice and boil for 2 minutes, scraping up the browned bits in the bottom of the pan. Turn the heat to low and nestle the fish into the pan, spooning some of the mushroom/wine/garlic mixture over the fillets. Cover and simmer for 7 to 10 minutes, depending on the thickness of the fish, turning the fillets once in the middle of cooking.
- When the fish is done, remove it to a serving platter. Whisk 1 tablespoon butter and the parsley into the sauce and adjust for seasoning with salt and pepper, if desired. Pour the sauce over the fish and serve with quinoa or rice on the side.