“ Brand: Tesco / Type: ready Meal „
I am a big lover of fish because it tastes delicious and is a healthy alternative to meat, but I do sometimes get bored of steamed fish even when I create my own interesting sauces to liven it up. Browsing the freezers in Tesco last week I noticed a new fish product as part of their Finest range, Smoked Haddock Florentine which I thought looked and sounded very tasty based on what I could see on the box. It cost £2 and this seemed reasonable because this is what I would spend on an average piece of fresh fish from the fish monger or supermarket fish counter.
This Florentine can be cooked in either the oven or the microwave, I did mine in the oven because microwaved fish invariably tastes bland and rubbery. It was a simple case of heating the oven to gas mark 6, removing the film from the dish and popping it onto the middle shelf for 35 minutes. The cleverness of this dish is all down to the film. On top of your standard plastic oven friendly tray is a double layer of film, you only remove the top piece (or pierce it if you're using the microwave) and you'll see that the film underneath has tiny pin pricks which will help to steam the haddock rather than bake it.
The fish looked wholly unappetising when it was frozen and I began to think of those damned awful fish in butter sauces that my late husband used to enjoy, I hoped it was going to be a nicer dinner than this!
Once cooked though I can tell you this is a delicious and filling meal. The smoked haddock loin is a decent size, smaller than loins I would buy from the fish monger obviously but this is still a very good sized piece of fish. It is nicely smoked, not too strong like a lot of smoked frozen fish products so I could still taste the delicate haddock flavour.
The fish flakes beautifully and it is cooked better than I was imagining it would. The haddock is firm, moist and tender, it's texture while I'm chewing is as good as any fresh haddock in my opinion.
The Florentine Sauce is made from Jersey cream and vintage cheddar cheese and it compliments the fish perfectly. It is creamy in texture and although it has a fairly delicate flavour, it is a heavy and rich sauce. It tastes creamy above anything else and there is not very much cheese flavour at all, it is more a hint of cheddar with the cheese adding consistency to the sauce more than anything I think.
The Florentine also contains leaf spinach and this makes up apparently 9% of the meal. I know spinach shrinks on cooking, but I was looking forward to my healthy serving of spinach and not the dozen or so shrivelled bit of limp greens. It did not look very appetising at all and I left most of it in the dish when I served my meal up. The spinach was tasteless and soggy feeling, even the thick sauce did not liven it up.
I served my Florentine with green beans and three small boiled potatoes in their skins and this made for a filling, delicious and healthy meal. It has 265 calories and 13.7g fat in each 220g portion. I think the calories is acceptable but that amount of fat in a fish dish really does defeat the object of healthy eating! To be honest though most of this fat is in the sauce so the more you leave in the dish the better, there is a generous amount of sauce so you could easy leave half of it in the dish (with the spinach!) and you've slashed your fat intake without losing any of the flavours of your dinner.