Pollock fillets are an inexpensive, environmentally sound alternative to white fish such as cod and haddock. Recommended by the Monterey Bay Aquarium's Seafood Watch program, pollock fillets -- like almost all white fish -- are too delicate to cook using low-fat methods such as broiling or grilling. That doesn't mean you can't enjoy pollock. With a few basic ingredients, some kitchen tools, and a little knowledge, you can turn pollock fillets into low-fat, delicious oven-fried fish.
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Place your pollock fillets on a plate or cutting board, pat them dry with paper towels, and sprinkle them with salt and pepper. For the best results, you'll want to use inch-thick fillets that weigh about 6 oz. each. Do not use fillets thinner than 1/2 inch, as these will fall apart in the oven.
Preheat your oven to 450 F and place the rack in the upper-middle position. Break the Melba toast into 1-inch pieces and place them in a food processor. Pulse the food processor until you have reduced the Melba toast to the consistency of coarse bread crumbs. Since Melba toast crumbs are very hard, they will not get soggy during oven frying.
Combine the egg whites, thyme, mustard and garlic salt in a pie plate or other shallow, wide vessel and mix well with a fork. If you find separating eggs difficult, feel free to use a commercial egg white product, generally available in the dairy department of most supermarkets.
Spread the Melba toast crumbs out on a large plate. Dip each pollock fillet in the egg mixture, allow excess to drain back into the pie plate, and coat the fish with the crumbs. Gently press the fish into the crumbs. "Cook's Illustrated" magazine recommends you avoid piling crumbs onto fish, as extra crumbs will fall off and burn in the oven.
Line a baking pan or heavy-duty, lipped cookie sheet with aluminum foil and spray the foil with high-heat nonstick spray. Place the coated pollock fillets on the aluminum foil and spray each one with nonstick spray, which will help the crumbs brown. Place the pan in the oven and cook for 12 to 15 minutes, or until the crumbs are golden and the fish is flaky. Serve hot.
REFERENCES & RESOURCES
- Monterey Bay Aquarium Seafood Watch: Atlantic Pollock
- "Cooks Illustrated"; Oven-Fried Fish; May 2008
- Fine Cooking; How to Tell When Fish Is Truly Cooked; Molly Stevens