Breaded Pollock with Caramelized Onions, or seibiff med løk as it's called in Norwegian, is a Norwegian classic weeknight dinner. It has flaky, juicy and crispy pollock with sweet caramelized onions. I included some delicious wild mushrooms in this recipe, but you could also skip them!
This may be just a standard weeknight dinner in Norway, but it is so delicious! Halibut with whipped sour cream is a classic Norwegian Christmas dinner, but this breaded pollock is, I would say, just as delicious, even though it's classified as a weeknight dinner.
Both of these recipes are in my new fish-recipes-for-fish-haters category, otherwise just known as Fish on my blog. Yes, I hate fish, but I love these dishes! If you're like me, I'm sure you would still like them too.
You don't need any fancy ingredients for this recipe. Traditional Norwegian dinners usually don't.
- Pollock fillets:
Otherwise known as sei in Norwegian. It is similar to cod and haddock in that it is super flaky when cooked, it is white, low-fat and mild (probably hence why these are most of the fishes I can eat).
However, pollock is a little softer. Pollock is a great source of lean protein as well. Even though this pollock recipe is breaded, it is still quite low calorie as the breading is super thin.
- Breadcrumbs make the breading extra crispy, which I'm all about
- Flour, you can use just flour and it will still get crispy
- Onions become so soft and sweet and I can assure you you will need more onion than you may think, it's that good.
- Mushroom is considered optional here, but then again, do not treat it as optional because oh man it is so good. Especially if you get wild mushroom like chanterelles.
- Oil and butter together creates the best sear, as the smoke point of oil is high and butter tastes amazing!
- Salt, pepper, sugar, paprika powder and garlic powder for extra flavor.
How to Caramelize Onions
Caramelizing onions is actually so simple, it just takes a little time. Caramelized onion is cooked on low heat for a long time to get that golden color, soft texture and sweet flavor. It is out of this world delicious and I tend to use it a lot. For example in this roasted tomato soup or these onion and mushroom quesadillas.
All you need is onion, butter, oil, salt and sugar.
Cut onion into thin slices, as thinly as you want them. In a nonstick skillet, heat both oil and butter on medium-low heat. Add the sliced onion and while constantly stirring, let them become soft for about 5 minutes. Then it's time for a tiny sprinkle of salt and sugar (1).
At this stage, you can stir every 5 minutes, until you reach your desired level of caramelized. I usually opt for around 30 minutes (3), which I would classify as medium. Some may want it lighter, at 20 minutes (2), or darker at 45 minutes. Some even want them super dark, but then they often turn really mushy.
The mushrooms aren't really in the traditional breaded pollock recipes, however, they are SO good. I highly recommend trying chanterelles. I may have an extra affinity for chanterelles, but it's just because they are the #1 shroom, right?
If you so decide to add mushroom to this dish, simply add them to the onions. If using fresh mushrooms, add them at the beginning of the cook time. Mushrooms also love being cooked low and slow, like in a chicken marsala.
If using frozen mushroom, they need to thaw first. Frozen mushroom are usually pre-cooked, so then they won't need much more than 5 minutes at the end of the cook time, just to re-heat.
More chanterelle recipes:
How to Cook with Pollock Fillets
To cook with pollock, you can make it both breaded and plain. Considering pollock is very mild, it is often breaded to get more interest. Then you get a crispy exterior with a flaky, juicy fish.
It is important to dry the fillets on a paper towel before placing in the breading mixture, to ensure maximum crispiness. Also, a relatively high heat will provide a juicy interior and a crispy exterior.
A lot of resources claim that 2 minutes per side is good for a pollock fillet, and that may be true for thinner fillets. I was looking for fresh pollock fillets, but I could not get a hold of it, so I got frozen pollock fillets that were made into a block. So first of all, they were huge, like 7 oz per, and 1 inch tall.
1 inch tall pollock fillets/blocks need 15 minutes in the pan, so 7-8 minutes per side. Because of the breading it is difficult to see when it is done, but unbreaded fish is done when white goo oozed out of it. It is usually around 10 minutes total for normal sized fish fillets.
How to Cook with Frozen Fish
As I mentioned above, I got frozen pollock in blocks. Pollock blocks are fairly common in the freezer section of grocery stores. And it is completely fine to use them. My initial problems with them are the size and un-natural look, not the flavor nor juiciness nor flakiness.
If the fish thaws too quickly, it will become sloppy and unappetizing because a lot of water escapes from the fish. This is because the cells in the fish expand when frozen.
When you cook with frozen fish, you actually don't want to thaw it. All you need to do is to mimic the environment the fish used to live in, i.e., in salt water. Use 30 grams, or 1 tablespoon, of salt per 1 liter, or 4 cups, of water. Place the frozen pollock block in for 30 minutes (fillets can make do with 20-30 minutes).
Rinse it in cold water and dry well with a paper towel. Then you proceed with the recipe as otherwise stated! I cut each block in half before breading so that I had four generous servings of fish.
No one says you have to follow a recipe to the T (well, you do for baking!). Sometimes we make do with what we have, or we like things a certain way.
- Other fish: for this recipe you could swap the pollock with any other mild fish like cod, haddock or tilapia and the result will be quite similar!
- Other sides: you don't have to make the caramelized onions and chanterelles if you don't want to. You can lighten it up with a fresh salad like this fennel grapefruit salad or roasted cauliflower chickpea salad. Or maybe you fancy some buttery brussels sprouts and Moroccan carrots, or fresh lemony asparagus - take a peek at my sides category for even more ideas!
Caramelized onions and mushroom can be stored really well, but not the fish. Because the fish is breaded, it will become soggy if stored, so I recommend serving it right away.
Caramelized onions and mushroom can be frozen for several months, or it can be stored covered in the refrigerator for 3-5 days.
How to make it
Just a few keywords on what this recipe is all about:
- Add frozen fish to water bath 30 minutes (disregard if using fresh fish). Rinse and dry.
- Caramelize onions on medium low heat for 30-45 minutes.
- Prepare any other sides (like boiled potatoes and melted butter)
- Dip fish in bread mixture.
- Cook fish for about 10-15 minutes total, on medium high heat.
- Serve right away
Some of these items are more thoroughly explained in earlier paragraphs, but the most important elements are also included in the recipe card below. Enjoy!
And if you're inclined to try more Norwegian treats, I recommend Norwegian waffles for your coffee break!
Did you like this recipe? Here are more easy weeknight dinners for you:
I’d love to hear your thoughts. Comment below or tag me @thegingerwithspice on Instagram. And don’t forget to Pin it for later! To make sure you’re never missing another recipe, please feel free to subscribe to my newsletter. As a thanks you will receive a free e-cookbook Travels Through the Seasons, with many delicious recipes from around the world that suit different seasons of the year.
In order to keep the blog up and running this post may contain affiliate links, it will be at no extra cost to you, please read the disclosure for more information.