Steamed Haddock in Tomato Broth

This is another master recipe that can be adapted for almost any fish or seafood. As always, the keys are absolutely fresh fish, which means moist, firm, and shiny flesh, and do not overcook the fish. Remember that the fish will continue to cook after you remove it from the heat, indeed after it arrives on the plates, which must be hot in order to ensure the proper serving temperature for the food. The fish should be set, which means slightly more cooked than transparent; if it flakes, it is overdone. Use a warming drawer to pre-heat the plates, or put them in the microwave on high for two minutes, or immerse them in hot water.

This recipe provides three to four portions.


1 small shallot, finely chopped

1 small stick of baby celery, white portion only, finely chopped

1 cups (300 ml) of vegetable stock

1 ½ ounces of dry Vermouth

1 Bay Leaf

1 medium floury potato (Russets work well) finely diced

½ cup of diced sweet tomatoes

1 pound (500g) Haddock filets

Lemon juice and parsley to finish

1 tablespoon of capers (optional)

Salt and pepper as noted in Technique



Large heavy-bottomed sautéing pan with tight-fitting lid

Accurate kitchen timer

Hot soup plates go best for this sort of dish


On low heat add a tablespoon or two of olive oil to the pan.

Add the shallots and celery, reduce heat, cover and let sweat for five minutes

Increase the flame, adding vegetable stock and Vermouth

Add Bay leaf

Lighly salt the diced potato and add to pan, bringing heat to a slow simmer for ten to fifteen minutes

Note the recipe may be prepared to this point and set aside to be finished just before the meal.

Salt and pepper the tomatoes and the Haddock filets

Bring the broth to a good simmer, and add the tomatoes, letting them warm through but do not "cook" them

When everything in the pan is hot, reduce the heat a little

Then add the Haddock filets skin-side down, and cover the pan tightly

Note the object is partly to poach the fish and partly to steam it, bearing in mind that there is not sufficient liquid to rely solely on poaching. Hence the need for a lid that fits well.

Time the filets to cook for three minutes. Do not attempt to turn them

Remove the pan from the flame, and using a thin metal slice transfer them to the hot serving dishes

Finish the sauce with lemon juice and parsley

You could also add a small knob of butter and a few capers if desired.

Swirl the sauce, and spoon over the Haddock

Serving Suggestions

A small green salad is an appropriate accompaniment. The lettuce should be unobstusive (more Boston than Arugula) and the dressing made with white wine vinegar.