Pan Fried Haddock Fillets with Caramelized Mini Peppers

When I found a package of frozen wild caught haddock fillets at the store, I liked the fact that they were individually packed, and decided to buy it, not exactly having any special type of preparation in mind.
Haddock is a member of the cod family, and has a fairly firm texture and mild sweetish flavor. It can prepared in different ways, with the most popular is dipped in batter and deep fried. I wasn’t into that, and so decided to simply pan fry it with olive oil and butter.
The fillets were folded over when packed, but, rather than unfolding them into flat long filet after defrosting, I’ve decided to cook them as is, to be served as a main course.
Basting the fish with the hot olive oil and butter while pan frying it, gave it a moist texture on the inside, and a slightly caramelized layer on the outside. The butter browned while frying, creating a simple instant tasty sauce, that complemented the buttery texture of the fish beautifully.
Caramelized mini peppers and onion, which were sautéed with white wine vinegar, mustard and honey, were the perfect side dish to the fish; adding acidity, sweetness and color to it. Try it and enjoy.

* For best results, defrost the fish slowly overnight in the fridge.
* For quicker cooking time, the fillets can be unfolded to a flat fillet. They can also be cut in half and served as a first course. In both cases, the cooking time will be half of what is mentioned here.
* The caramelized peppers are also great as part of antipasti platter, or in sandwiches.

Makes: 2-4
Defrosting time: overnight
Prep time: 20 minutes
Cooking time: 25 minutes

For the caramelized peppers:
About 1 lbs (455 grams) mini peppers
1 medium white onion
2 Tbs olive oil
1 tsp sugar
2 tsp salt
½ tsp freshly ground four peppers mix
3 Tbs white wine vinegar
1 Tbs Dijon Mustard
2 tsp honey (preferably orange blossom)
For the fish:
2 haddock fillets (5.3 oz/150 grams each), frozen-thawed (see notes)
1 Tbs fresh lemon juice
1 tsp salt
¼ tsp freshly ground four peppers mix
1 Tbs olive oil
3 Tbs butter

1. The peppers: deseed the peppers and cut into medium strips. Peel, core and cut the onion into thin strips.
2. In a large pan, mix the onion, olive oil, sugar, salt and ground pepper. Place over medium-high heat and sauté, mixing occasionally, until the onion is soft and translucent.
3. Add the peppers, mix and sauté, mixing occasionally, until they start to soften. Lower the heat to medium-low, add the vinegar, mustard and honey and mix. Sauté, mixing occasionally, for about 15 minutes, until the liquids evaporate and the mixture caramelizes. Taste and adjust seasoning. Keep in a warm place until using.

4. The fish: bring the fillets to room temperature and pat dry with paper towels. Place in a container and drizzle the lemon juice over. Season with salt and ground pepper and let stand for 10 minutes before frying.
5. To fry, mix the olive oil and butter in a medium pan and heat over medium-high heat. Once the butter starts to foam, add the fish, seasoned side down. Fry, basting with the hot fat with a spoon occasionally, until the lower side is nicely browned. Turn and fry the other side, again basting with the hot fat. Lower the heat to medium-low.
Gently, insert a small sharp knife into the thickest part of the fillet, and check for doneness. (As the fillet is folded over, the process will take  about 10-12 minutes.)

6.  Arrange the peppers in a warm serving plate. Place the fish over, and pour the brown butter from the pan on top. Serve immediately.

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