Poached Haddock, Pancetta Curls & Polonaise Sauce, MasterChef style. 1.7g net carbs per serving.
As I watched an episode of Masterchef: The Professionals featuring Poached Haddock with Polonaise Sauce, I was literally salivating. Such wholesome ingredients. And mostly keto-friendly. I knew instantly that a few tweaks here and there would make it keto-perfect. It turned out even better than I thought. The best thing is that it is surprisingly easy to create and doesn’t require fancy ingredients.
On Masterchef, Marcus Wareing used this dish as a test task that he set with a 15 minute time limit. Honestly, I haven’t been able to finish it within that timeframe. It takes me 30 minutes. If you were to opt for pan-frying the fish, instead of poaching it, the whole dish would come together even faster. Whether you use smoked haddock or cod or a fish that’s similar in texture, this one is a real winner.
And before you let out a scream when you read the recipe ingredients, let me reassure you that all the milk used for poaching is discarded, so you needn’t worry about it. If, however, you wish to avoid cow’s milk for personal or medical reasons, you can easily swap it for a milk of your choice. I am sure it would work out just fine.
Reasons to Avoid Farmed Fish
The main star of this dish is undoubtedly the haddock, and it goes without saying that choosing good quality fish is absolutely essential. For a more intense flavour, my Poached Haddock, Pancetta Curls & Polonaise Sauce is made using smoked haddock fillets. Not the yellow variety, which has been dyed for reasons that I cannot comprehend.
In Europe, haddock and cod farming is non-existent because of plentiful supplies, but I don’t know about other parts of the world. So, just in case, here are my sentiments.
Wild-caught fish is far superior to any farmed option, even when the farming is purported to have been ‘ethical’ and ‘responsible’. I don’t believe these two adjectives can be applied to fish farming. In terms of conditions, ‘farmed’ means that fish is kept in confined and overcrowded areas, fed un-natural food, and given prophylactic drugs to minimise disease and maximise profits. In my opinion, it is actually worse than intensive farming of land animals. Whatever poisons are thrown into the water tanks contaminate external areas too and can have far-reaching implications for marine life. And ultimately, for us.
Ethical standards aside, wild-caught fish tastes way better. So, if you appreciate quality, I highly recommend that you steer clear of anything farmed.
What is Polonaise Sauce?
Polonaise Sauce is a ‘Frenchified’ dish based on Polish cuisine. It consists of eggs, parsley, butter and breadcrumbs that you cook briefly – just enough for the flavours to combine. Despite the name ‘sauce’, it isn’t pourable. If you make it correctly, it has a textured consistency, so you spread it over the fish.
From a keto perspective, Polonaise Sauce is perfect. As long as the breadcrumbs are made with keto bread, obviously. This rustic sauce may lack French refinement, but it is a delicious, nutritious and versatile accompaniment to most protein and vegetables.
How to Make Keto Breadcrumbs
You can use any keto-friendly bread. Slice it, toast it, and blitz it so it turns to crumbs. If you’ve tried other keto breads and you’ve not enjoyed their eggy stodginess, try my Amazing Protein Bread. It contains just 0.7g of net carbs per slice and is super easy, without the need for a kazillion eggs. It has been one of my most popular recipes from day one, and is still my personal favourite.
But of course you can use any other low-carb bread you like. For the sake of ease and convenience, bread mixes can come in handy. I’m quite fond of the Sukrin Bread Mix: just add water, mix and bake. Zero fuss. If you’re based in the U.K. you can find it HERE.
I hope I have enticed you to try my Poached Haddock, Pancetta Curls & Polonaise Sauce.
- Yield: 2
- Serving: 1
- Calories: 701
- Fat: 48g
- Net Carbs: 1.7g
- Protein: 61g
- 20g (1 handful) of fresh baby spinach leaves
- 400g wild-caught smoked haddock fillet (cut into 4 pieces)
- 100g thin pancetta slices
- 2 eggs
- 500ml whole milk
- 3 bay leaves
- 20g capers (drained)
- 2 slices queenketo protein bread
- 50g unsalted butter
- 1 baby shallot (minced)
- 1 handful of fresh parsley (2 TBSP chopped)
- cook pancetta slices until crispy and curled, and set aside.
- lay spinach leaves on your serving plates.
- toast bread slices, let them cool, then place them in a food processor; pulse a few times until you obtain coarse crumbs and set aside.
- boil eggs for 10 mins, then cut each in half and separate egg whites from yolks.
- whilst the eggs cook, place haddock pieces in a pan just large enough to accommodate them side by side, then add milk and bay leaves - you'll need enough milk to mostly submerge the fish - add more if necessary.
- cover with lid and bring to the boil over medium heat, then immediately flip the fish over, turn heat off and leave to rest, lid on.
- put butter, minced shallot and breadcrumbs in a small frying pan; cook on high heat for 2 mins.
- chop egg whites and yolks, scoop them into the breadcrumb frying pan, then add chopped parsley and capers.
- lift the fish out of the milk using a straining ladle and place it over the spinach leaves.
- finally, top with the polonaise sauce (re-heated if necessary) and enjoy immediately.