by Mark McNulty.
I always like to root for the underdog. Perhaps that is why I am such a fan of pollock.
When you ask anyone about native New England seafood they typically rattle off the usual famous characters. Cod, haddock, lobster, and flounder will come up. When summer arrives bluefish and striped bass rise in popularity. But all too often the poor pollock gets overlooked. This olive green groundfish is actually a member of the cod family and thrives in the waters off our coast. In the past it was largely a bycatch of fishermen harvesting cod and haddock, but in recent years it has been targeted for sale more frequently. Pollock is a whitefish very similar to your average cod filets, but has its own unique flavor that can hold its own against any other fish. In fact, many local fish mongers will tell you it is the best fish to use in a fish chowder or soup recipe. Also worth noting is its very low saturated fat content and high protein supply.
I am happy to share my own recipe for citrus pollock below but there are plenty more available. In fact, you can substitute pollock in just about any cod recipe. I do this all the time for one simple reason: Cost. Pollock will often be selling for half the price you pay for cod or haddock. The choice is yours, but if I can get fish of equal taste and quality for half the cost? Count me in. With a thriving population, you can also enjoy it without any worry of overfishing or risk to the species.
When looking at his cod cousin or haddock friend, the proud pollock might ask: What do they have that I don’t have? The answer? Nothing. He truly deserves to be recognized along with his more famous peers. Give it a try. Your taste buds and your wallet will thank you!
Prep time: 15 minutes — Cook time: 25 minutes
- 2 pounds pollock
- black pepper
- 3/4 cup chopped onion
- 3 garlic cloves, minced
- 2 tablespoons butter
- 1/2 cup orange juice
- 1.5 tablespoon lemon juice
- 2 teaspoons grated orange peel
- Preheat oven to 375 degrees. Place fish in an 11 X 7 baking dish, coated with cooking spray. Sprinkle with ground black pepper to taste.
- In a small skillet, saute your garlic and onion in the butter until it is tender, then spoon it over the fish. Combine the orange and lemon juice, add the orange peel, and drizzle this over the fish.
- Bake uncovered for 20-25 minutes, or until the fish flakes easily with a fork. Enjoy!
- As always, I encourage you to visit your local fish market for the freshest possible fish. For this meal, the pollock came from Brant Rock Fish Market in Marshfield. The pollock had been caught that morning and cut within the the hour.
- There is also a Pacific pollock that is related to our Atlantic species, but not exactly the same. You can still use it in any recipe but the flavor and texture might be different.
- Pollock is available year round but most common November through January.
Mark McNulty is a local teacher and children’s writer who is currently a stay-at-home Dad. A lifelong resident of the South Shore and avid fisherman, Mark has developed a passion for local seafood. He has often said “If it swims, I’ll eat it.” This includes active support for local fish markets and fishermen. Mark is also an avid Boston sports fan. His other interests include hiking, travel, cycling, and archery. His blog, The New American Dad, is a helpful resource for all mothers and fathers and was recently recognized as Top Blog by Mommy Poppins Boston. His family currently lives in Pembroke.