Sunday, April 29, 2012

Greens-Stuffed Haddock Wallets in a Sherry Pomodoro Sauce

Growing up in the Northeastern part of the United States, you have probably eaten haddock, over cod. They taste very similar, but in my personal opinion, haddock is the prettier twin.  In my hometown, and starting as a Catholic tradition of meat-abstinence on Fridays, going out for a haddock fish fry dinner every Friday was a ritual. The entire town smelled like a fish fry! From pubs to fancy restaurants, and even the American Legions, they all pumped out out fish fries every Friday, and everyone has their loyal favorite.

This is no fish-n-chips, people. It was a luscious, huge, flaky piece of haddock, as big as your forearm, fried crispy in a crunchy batter; it was thick and flaky, with that touch of silvery skin that tells you, I'm a sexy piece of haddock! It was divine!  I can tell you that the last time I flew home for a visit, as soon as we touched down at Hancock Airport, in Syracuse, NY, we made a beeline straight to a restaurant for a haddock fish fry!

Years ago, (and, still) most people got their fresh fish from a market in the "East End" of Utica, NY, down on Kossuth & Broad Streets, and when you called up to order, you would be greeted with the accent, "Kosutta fish!"  Kossuth Fish Market was THE place to get your fresh fish, and I am happy to they are still in business today, offering fish and seafood of the highest quality.

 Over the years, people have started to subscribe to a healthier lifestyle, including a hearty-healthy diet, and baked haddock is becoming a popular option on restaurant menus. Haddock Oregonata, or Haddock Parmigiana are two popular options.  The essence of Italian cooking lies in its straightforward  respect to the quality and beauty of the ingredients, so I didn't want to get too "fancy" with the recipe. But, given that Utica Greens are so popular in my hometown, I wanted to incorporate them into a baked haddock recipe. So, why not stuff the haddock with the greens? It delivers big flavors with its spicy, seasoned escarole stuffing, and baked in a rich, but simple, Sherry pomodoro bath.

 I absolutely love the result, and it really does rival my good ol' favorite fish fry without all the fried guilt.  Although, when I home, I'll probably still get a haddock fish fry, for old times sake...

Recipe makes six, 8 ounce pieces of haddock (or, cod fillets)

Serve with additional sauce and crusty bread.
3 heads of escarole(rinsed)
2 tablespoons of olive oil
2 cloves of garlic (pushed through a garlic press)
5-7 Hot cherry peppers (roughly chopped; quantity depending on how much heat you like)
5 or 6 slices of Prosciutto, torn into 2 inch pieces
1 cup of plain bread crumbs, (not Italian.)
1 cup of artichoke hearts (quartered)
¼ cup of grated cheese (Pecorino Romano or Parmigiano Reggiano) optional, but who doesn’t love cheese?

Hot cherry peppers, roughly chopped ( 5, or so – depending how much heat you want)
28 ounce can of whole San Marzano  tomatoes
4 cloves of garlic  (smashed)
½  cup of grated Pecorino Romano cheese (plus more for topping)
1 cup of cooking Sherry wine (cut with  about ½ cup of water)
2+2 Tbsp. of extra virgin olive oil (separated: half for sauté, half for sauce)
4 Tbsp. of butter
¼ c of heavy cream
½ teaspoon of dried basil (plus, a few torn leaves of fresh basil tor tossing in pasta at  the end)
½ teaspoon of sea salt

1. Cut the bottom of each escarole head, and chop into large (4 square-inch sized) pieces.  Steam the escarole in a wire basket over a large pot of boiling water (2 inches of water) for about 7-8 minutes, or until limp and still a bit firm.  It will reduce greatly as it steams. (Do not boil the romaine, as it may get to mushy)
2. Meanwhile, in a 12 in skillet, crisp the prosciutto, first.  Next, add the hot cherry peppers, artichokes, and garlic on low heat in the 2 tablespoons of olive oil
3. Next, with tongs, remove the escarole from the wire basket and add it to the sauté and toss, turning quite a bit so the ingredients incorporate.
4. Sprinkle in the bread crumbs liberally and toss, thoroughly.  (The breadcrumbs give a nice, fuller- bodied texture you want.)
5. Sprinkle in the grated cheese and toss again.
6.  Let sit for at least 15 minutes, so the dish can blossom.
In a large pot heat extra-virgin olive on low heat with 4 smashed and chopped garlic cloves. This infuses the garlic into the oil before you add the tomatoes. Be careful that the garlic doesn’t get brown. It will be bitter. Add the whole tomatoes and Sherry Wine. Simmer for a few minutes. Add the butter, dried basil, chopped cherry peppers, and the sea salt. Allow to simmer on very low heat. Carefully, mash the whole tomatoes with a potato masher, then add in the Pecorino Romano cheese. (Do not add the cheese earlier, as it will stick to the bottom of the pot a little, and cling to the masher.)

Preheat oven to 350 degrees. Carefully cut a slit in the side of 6 pieces of haddock to open a pocket. Stuff about a half cup of greens in each pouch. Ladle the sauce in the bottom of a baking dish (enough so that the sauce will come up half-way once the fish is lined up in the pan. Line all the stuffed fish in the sauce in the baking dish so the stuffed top is facing up.  Sprinkle each stuffed fish with bread crumbs and bake for 20 minutes.  Serve immediately.


  1. I love haddock...and this one looks great ! Love your blogspot ! xxoo

  2. This sounds really good!! I come from an Italian family and so much in your recipes take me "home!" Lovely photos, too.

  3. Thank you, so much, Lori! Still working on adding some menu pages and other ambiance features. Thanks for checking it out! Come back soon!


  4. Patricia- Thank you!! I'm so glad you stopped by! My aim is to create an environment like you stepped into my home, or my little Italian bistro and offered you home-style food like an Italian Nonna would make. I'm glad it evokes those feelings of "home." That is exactly what I am trying to achieve. Adding more all the time; stop by soon!

    Ciao Ciao!