Eglefin au four sauce tartare

Baked haddock with French tartar sauce

This recipe is simplicity itself. Fillets of haddock are sprinkled with salt, pepper and cumin, coated with olive oil, then baked for 10-15 minutes in a hot oven. While the fish is cooking, you can whip up the tartar sauce — a breeze if you use store-bought mayo, which is fine. Serve with a heap of tender leaves alongside, and dinner is ready.

And another thing. The fish doesn’t have to be haddock. You can use fillets of any white-fleshed fish, and salmon also works very well. And while this recipe is best with fresh fish, frozen is also fine — just be sure it is fully defrosted before you begin.

The quantities below will serve 2 people. The tartar sauce recipe is here, and suggestions for side dishes are below.

2 skinless fillets of haddock, about 1/2 pound (200 g) each
1/4 tsp. salt
1/4 tsp. freshly ground black pepper
1/4 tsp. ground cumin
1 tbsp. olive oil
1 tsp. unsalted butter
1 lemon for garnish
1/2 cup tartar sauce

Preheat the oven to 210 C (400 F, gas mark 7).

Use parchment paper to line a baking pan large enough to accommodate the fish — this allows for easy clean-up — or oil the pan with an extra teaspoon of olive oil.

Pat the fish fillets dry with paper towels. Place on a plate.

Mix the salt, pepper and cumin together in a small cup. Sprinkle over the fish. Flip the fillets and sprinkle the other side. Now drizzle 1 tbsp. olive oil over the fish. Flip to coat both sides. Transfer to the baking pan. Dot with the butter.

Bake the fish until it is cooked through and starting to brown, 10-15 minutes depending on the thickness of the fillets. To test for doneness, gently cut into the center of one fillet with a sharp knife. If the flesh is still translucent, bake a bit longer. If not, the fish is done.

While the fish is baking, make the tartar sauce.

Serve the fish straight out of the oven, with the tartar sauce alongside. Serves 2.

What to serve with the fish? The most authentically French side would be … French fries. Other suggestions include mashed potatoes or mashed sweet potatoes; a veggie purée of, say, zucchini or finocchio; French-style green beans, sautéed spinach or spicy lentils; or, for the simplest of weeknight dinners, a salad of tender leaves with balsamic dressing.

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