Not too long ago, while I attempted a quick run to Market Basket, I noticed a new line of frozen fish in the seafood section: Haddock and cod from Iceland. Fish from Iceland is not a new thing in our local supermarkets, but the look and price of this product caught my eye. The brand is called Iceland Catch and after a quick look at their website, it sounded like a product I’d like to try.
Before I got a chance to get back to the store to buy some, I was contacted by an Iceland Catch representative who invited me to review their products. Not a bad start for 2021. Iceland Catch sent me two packages, one of haddock the other cod, so I could see for myself what sets their fish apart.
We eat haddock more than any other fish in our house so it seemed an obvious choice to start with the Iceland Catch Haddock Portions. Before that, here is a little bit about Iceland Catch.
About Iceland Catch
Iceland Catch and its parent company, Aquafisk, are certified sustainable from the Marine Stewardship Council. I recently learned their US headquarters is just down the road from me in Salem, Massachusetts, which makes sense considering their entry into the New England market. What makes Iceland Catch different than most of the other Icelandic seafood that reaches our fish markets, is their direct-to-supermarket relationship. In my opinion, they made a good choice in working with Market Basket. If you are not familiar, Market Basket is an insanely popular regional chain known for low prices. They are busy all. day. long.
Iceland Catch is committed to sustainably caught seafood and environmentally friendly processing. Their haddock and cod are line-caught in cold, deep, Icelandic waters before heading to the town of Reykjanesbær for processing. Within a day of being caught, the haddock and cod fillets are hand-cut before being portioned, flash frozen, and vacuum sealed in their state-of-the-art facility.
About Iceland Catch Haddock
I like the clear plastic packaging and the clean simple design Iceland Catch uses, it allows you to see the product. They use a color code on their packages, with green for haddock, yellow for cod. The blue badge of MSC, which many consumers look for, is prominently displayed and the back label includes a recipe.
I like that the packaging is not cluttered up with busy graphics or unnecessary marketing text, but I think Iceland Catch should mention their fish is line-caught somewhere on the back.
Generally speaking, line-caught fish tend to be in better condition than fish caught in gill or trawl nets and is something that many seafood consumers seek and pay a premium for. This Value Pack retails around $15 at Market Basket, however they are known for good sales and low prices so you may be able to find it for less.
My 1.5 pound package contained a 4-pack of individually sealed haddock fillet portions. The portions were taken from the thicker part of the fillet so they were pretty uniform in size. My first impression was definitely positive as the skinless haddock fillets were thick and looked firm, with no blemishes or discolorations.
I took a closer look after an overnight thaw in the fridge. Thawed, skinless haddock fillets can be delicate when skinless. Even with my clumsy way of removing them from the plastic, Iceland Catch haddock stayed in good shape.
As for how I wanted to prepare these nice, thick haddock fillets, I had the idea of imitating the hazelnut topping a local restaurant uses on their haddock. However, let’s face it – I’m no chef. Pan roasting haddock with a nut crust sounds a bit daunting when I’m working with high-quality, complimentary fish. I decided to modify my idea to be more approachable, but equally delicious.
Recipe: Hazelnut Herb Crusted Iceland Haddock
- 1.5lbs. Iceland Catch Haddock Fillet Portions
- 3/4C Hazelnuts, lightly roasted
- 1/4C Panko
- Fresh Herbs (I used basil, dill and parsley)
- 1 Lemon – zest and juice
- Salt and pepper
- Extra Virgin Olive Oil
Ahead of time: Take the hazelnuts and toast them in a dry pan until fragrant, don’t overcook and definitely don’t burn. Put the nuts in a dish towel or paper towels and rub them together to remove the skins. The more skin removed the better texture of your final topping.
Place the hazelnuts into a food processor along with panko, lemon zest and your herb mixture. Add a little salt and pepper, squeeze half a lemon over it and some olive oil before pulsing. It is similar to making a pesto, but do not blend it smooth. It should be a chunky mixture that should be tacky enough to stick to the fish. If it looks too dry add more olive oil.
Pre-heat oven to 400F. Place haddock on a parchment lined cooking sheet and season well. Drizzle olive oil on the fish and then top with the nut/herb mixture. You may want to use your hands to make sure it all adheres to the haddock.
Cook for about 15-18 minutes, or until you reach an internal temperature of 126F. The haddock should be flaky and the topping should be nicely browned.
The Verdict: How Was Iceland Catch Haddock
I really liked the way it came out, especially with a squeeze of lemon. It was different than other toppings I’ve made for haddock- like a pesto, but with the ratio skewed towards the nuts over the herbs. But to be fair, the topping was a bit dry, if I did this again I think it needs some sort of lemon sauce to balance it out.
The haddock itself however cooked up perfectly in under 20 minutes. The thick cut portions were moist, flaky, and pure white. The two of us ate pretty much all of it, but the convenient 4-pack of haddock would have been plenty for three adults.
I feel that Iceland Catch Haddock is a good choice for anyone looking for a high quality, convenient and sustainably caught source of frozen fish. Iceland Catch is also a good value at around $15 for a pound and a half of line-caught haddock. Although I’m only aware of their product at Market Basket Supermarkets, I’m sure it’s only a matter of time before you see Iceland Catch in your area.
Well, with the success of their haddock, I can’t wait to try the Iceland Catch cod fillets next time!