Recently I decided to clean out my freezer in the hope of escaping another night of leftovers. Apparently I only know how to cook for a family of six…but there’s only three of us, which leads to lots of great, but sometimes monotonous leftovers. This night I found a package of Gorton’s New England Style Haddock fillets and began to wonder why I forgot about them.
Then I remembered I shoved them to the back because somehow I lost the outer cardboard package that tells you how to cook it. But thanks to the product information over at the Gorton’s website I was able to figure out how to prepare the haddock without a fuss.
I have had good luck so far with many of the Gorton’s products I’ve sampled, including their other haddock varieties, but what will I think of their “New England Style” haddock?
The Gorton’s Packaging
The New England Style Haddock is part of Gorton’s “Everyday Gourmet” line just like the Pub Style Beer Batter Cod I tried previously. These products are meant to be a step up from the fish sticks and have a nicer packaging that includes a cardboard sleeve (which I lost) separate from the thick wrapped haddock.
On the cardboard sleeve is where the cooking instructions and ingredients are listed, which is also listed on the Gorton’s website. When looking at the ingredient list, it was noticeable that the breading had quite a list of ingredients, not necessarily scary ingredients, I could identify all but one, but just a lot of spices, flavorings and color. With haddock being such a mild fish I wondered aloud if I’ll even be able to taste it.
The Gorton’s Product
These are intended I think, to be a dinner for two, with two large breaded haddock fillets per package. Like the Beer Battered Cod, the portions are satisfyingly large, but a little thin. Also, like the cod and many frozen fish entrees, the fish has been treated with sodium tripolyphosphate (STPP) to keep it from drying out in the freezer. It seems that the use of STPP or its relatives is a necessary evil in order to keep value-added seafood products tasting right. However to Gorton’s credit, they don’t seem to overuse this preservative like other companies. I haven’t seen that characteristic milky substance leech out of any of their products I’ve reviewed so far.
The fish itself seemed to hold up pretty well considering it was shoved way in back for at least a couple of months. There was some ice crystals on the fish, but it was not freezer burned, thanks to the thick shrink-wrap packaging.
Preparing Gorton’s Haddock
No recipe, I just followed the instructions: Placed the New England Style Haddock on parchment and put in a preheated 425F oven for about 26 minutes. I flipped them at 16 minutes. The only tweak was the addition of of few frozen french fries, which luckily had nearly the exact same cooking time.
I noticed during the flip, that unlike the Beer Battered Cod, the haddock was much more flimsy and one of the fillets broke a bit as I tried to flip it. Of course, the cod had a crunchy coating while this haddock looks to have more of a breadcrumb topping, like I would use on baked haddock.
The Verdict on Gorton’s New England Haddock
A little disappointing. I think the Pub Style Beer Batter Cod, with it’s thick and crunchy coating, works better in this format. The haddock’s texture is very soft and the breadcrumb mix is closer in flavor to their fish stick breading than the bread or cracker crumbs I’m used to. Towards the end the flavor was overpowering. Perhaps if the fillets were a little thicker the bread crumb flavor would be in better balance with the fish.
Simply put, Gorton’s New England Style Haddock is not my favorite. In my opinion, the Gorton’s Haddock Fillets I reviewed in the past taste better. I would have preferred to have a box of those lost in my freezer. But hey, you can’t win ’em all right?
If you have tried Gorton’s New England Style Haddock, let me know what you thought of this product in the comments.