Haddock With Lemon Dill Pesto

Haddock with Pesto
Haddock baked with a low-FODMAP pesto

So it’s National Seafood Month, and what have I done? Well, not much actually in the way of buying seafood, but I have been doing research. I’ve been trying various types of canned tuna for a possible future post and I’m also doing some research into “underutilized species” beyond my local area to hopefully create some sort of guide. But with October drawing to a close I had to come up with something…

Well, after seeing that haddock a la Provencale Donna made over at the GoughPubs Site, I was inspired to celebrate National Seafood Month with some haddock of my own. It had been a while since I’ve made any haddock, and now that I’m on a mostly low-FODMAP diet, it’s high-time to try something new with an old favorite.

Fresh Haddock

I headed down to Steve Connolly Seafood, my favorite fish market and got a little under 2 pounds of large haddock fillets. They had both large and “baby” haddock fillets, which were cheaper at $7.95/lb. However I like the larger, thicker pieces of haddock when it’s being baked. I like the smaller fillets fried or broiled, but that’s just my personal preference. My father-in-law makes an excellent baked haddock, but prefers the smaller fillets. I don’t mind paying more ($10.95/lb) for nice thick pieces. If I had a little more money to spend I probably would have got another round of that delicious Atlantic halibut, but I already talked about that.


The Recipe: Haddock With Lemon Dill Pesto

  • 1.5-2lbs Fresh haddock
  • 4-5oz Fresh basil
  • .5oz Fresh dill
  • Small handful of walnuts (almonds, pistachios or traditional pine nuts)
  • .75-1 Cup grated pecorino, (Grana Padano would be even better)
  • 1 Lemon and its zest
  • Olive oil
  • 6-8 Grape tomatoes
  • salt and pepper

Pesto haddock prep

Pre-heat oven to 425F and place fillets in an oiled casserole dish and season with salt and pepper. Whisk half the lemon juice with some olive oil and brush on the fish. In a food processor combine nuts, basil, dill, lemon zest, salt and pepper to taste. While pulsing, add olive oil until a paste forms. Mix in the pecorino and then spread on the fish. Garnish with grape tomatoes and bake in oven for about 20-25 minutes. Serve with a wedge of the remaining lemon.

Although I am trying to stay on a low-FODMAP diet for the most part, I’ve been omitting garlic from my pesto for years. I also switched from pine nuts to less expensive nuts that can multi-task as a snack. In Italy various nuts like walnuts, almonds and pistachios are used in regional types of pesto. However, this is my first time using dill and lemon zest in a pesto, and my first time using it on fish. Pesto, in all it’s various forms, is a raw sauce, so I’m curious how the ingredients handle being cooked.

Before I popped it in the oven, I was already talking about how I may add dill and lemon zest to all my pesto for now on. A quick taste and it didn’t taste strong of lemon, but it and the dill seemed to bring out more of that “pesto” flavor.

I did not account for the oil in the pesto, so it was swimming at the 20 minute mark. I siphoned off some of the oil with a baster and gave it a few more minutes. Being a true gourmand (read: glutton/trencherman) I grabbed a piece of FODMAP-friendly sourdough bread and dipped it into that lemony/oily/herby/fishy goodness.

The Verdict

Pesto Haddock Plated

Flaky, moist but with all the oil and lemon it seemed more poached than baked. Poached is good, but not my wife’s favorite texture for fish. The flavor was very good and with the heat, the pesto took on more of the flavors of the dill, with the basil taking a back seat. I served it with a side of sauteed zucchini and yellow squash, but I should have made some rice too, it was begging for rice.

I would certainly make a similar dish again, but without that extra oil, just enough so it don’t stick. This pesto would work great on any other white flaky fish as well, especially cod.

So how did you celebrate National Seafood Month? Let me know in the comments!

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