Written by Maureen Dahl
Toppits Foods has been in the food industry since 1976 in Canada. With an unrelenting focus on quality, they offer a wide variety of fresh and frozen fish and seafood items as well as Hors D’oeuvres, Grilled Vegetables and their well-known line of POP Herbs. Following the successful launch of the Toppits Seafood Market (in Vaughan, Ont.) their ever vigilant, 4 man team of ‘product innovators’ – recognizing the ever-growing gluten-free market – now offer Canadians its delicious gluten-free frozen breaded fish, certified by the Gluten-Free Certification Program and is Marine Stewardship Council certified as sustainable. Using only the finest ingredients this new line of tender flakey, hand cut fillets is available in 3 varieties; Black Pepper Cod, Lightly Seasoned Haddock and Savor Lemon Sole. Each comes in 400-gram boxes with a retail price of $10.99.
It is estimated that at least 300,000 or 1% of the Canadian population suffer from Gluten Intolerance (Celiac Disease) according to Health Canada.
We recently attended a luncheon given by Toppits to launch their new gluten-free line of frozen breaded fish fillets. Our dishes were prepared by The Toppits chefs and left little to be desired. Not a fan of cod, I was converted when the Black Pepper Cod was served in a lettuce wrap with pickled vegetable, then in a salad, with arugula, artichokes and a red-wine-vinegar dressing. The Lemon Sole became the main ingredient in a slider with lettuce and tartar sauce.
One of my personal favorites, the Seasoned Haddock, became a wonderful Fish Taco with lime and avocado, then got kicked up a notch when a server delivered fresh scrambled eggs, a little chive and a delicious Béarnaise Sauce in a cup.
I’m basically a from-scratch cook and rarely use frozen prepared dishes, but the Toppits Chefs have introduced me to the versatility of their new products and got my creative juices flowing. I’ve since made an old favorite ‘Fish & Chips’ using the Seasoned Haddock and oven fried fresh cut potato wedges as well as a Fish PoBoy, the Black Pepper Cod Fillet (yes cod) on a bun with avocado and creamy slaw.
It now looks like I’ve become a convert, and some of the reasons are that this fish is hand cut from natural whole fillets, with no additives, a good source of protein and low in saturated fat. They are trans-fat-free and a good source of Omega-3 polyunsaturated fat, and gluten-free and great tasting.
These Toppits products are now available in the frozen food aisle at retail stores across Canada. Where you will also find Toppits Garlic, Ginger & Herb Pop Herbs, frozen in handy little trays. These herb packets reduce the time and cost of your marinades, and dips, I’ve also used them in sauces and stews. It takes seconds to pop out a couple of garlic cubes and a parsley, add to a cup of butter and you’ll have the base for garlic bread or a topping for grilled steak. There are too many uses and combinations to go into here but more ideas are available on the Toppits website.
Cook This: Toppits Gluten-Free Recipes
Spicy Toppits Gluten-Free Black Pepper Cod Lettuce Wraps (serves 2)
2 pieces Toppits Gluten-Free Black Pepper Cod
1 head Boston Bibb lettuce, separated
1 cup pickled daikon
1 cup pickled carrots
1 tsp Sriracha
1 tbsp Gochujang
1 cup Kewpie Mayonnaise
Salt and pepper
Bake the Black Pepper Cod on a baking sheet lined with parchment paper at 380°F for 20 minutes (flipping half way) or until golden brown and flesh is white.
Combine the sriracha, gochujang paste, and kewpie mayonnaise in a bowl. Season to taste and set aside. When serving, slice fish into 2 cm thick pieces and place on top of lettuce leaves, drizzle with sauce, top with pickled veg and squeeze of lemon juice.
Toppits Gluten-Free Savoury Lemon Sole Sliders (serves 2)
2 pieces Toppits Gluten-Free Savoury Lemon Sole
4 gluten-free slider buns
4 heaping tbsp tartar sauce
1 cup shredded iceberg lettuce
Extra virgin olive oil
1 cup mayonnaise
1/2 cup onions finely diced
1/4 cup capers finely diced
1/4 cup gherkins finely diced
Squeeze of lemon
Salt and pepper
Bake the Savoury Lemon Sole on a baking sheet lined with parchment paper at 380°F for 20 minutes (flipping halfway) or until golden brown and flesh is white.
Toast buns in a pan with olive oil and put tartar sauce on each bun, season to taste.
When serving, cut the sole fillets in half and place on buns, add more tartar sauce and top with lettuce.
Scrambled Eggs with Toppits Gluten-Free Lightly Seasoned Haddock and Béarnaise (serves 2)
1 piece Toppits Gluten-Free Lightly Seasoned Haddock
4 farm fresh eggs
1 tbsp chopped chives
2 tbsp béarnaise sauce
2 tbsp butter
Salt and pepper
Bake the Lightly Seasoned Haddock on a baking sheet lined with parchment paper at 380°F for 20 minutes (flipping halfway) or until golden brown and flesh is white.
Melt 2 tbsp of butter in a non-stick pan and let it begin to brown.
Add eggs to butter and reduce heat to low, stirring constantly until you’ve achieved your desired doneness.
Stir in chives and season to taste.
To serve, place the scrambled eggs in a bowl. Cut the haddock fillets into small cubes and place them on top. Finish with béarnaise sauce and serve immediately.
Tacos with Toppits Gluten-Free Lightly Seasoned Haddock (serves 2)
2 pieces Toppits Gluten-Free Lightly Seasoned Haddock
4 pieces corn tortilla
1 avocado, mashed and seasoned
1 cup fresh corn
2 tbsp fresh cilantro, chopped
1 small shallot, finely diced
1/2 cup cherry tomatoes, quartered
Salt and pepper
Bake the Lightly Seasoned Haddock on a baking sheet lined with parchment paper at 380°F for 20 minutes (flipping half way) or until golden brown and flesh is white. Combine corn, cilantro, shallot, cherry tomatoes, squeeze of lime juice and season to taste.
To serve, begin by adding the mashed avocado to the bottom of the tortilla. Cut the haddock fillet down the center to get 2 long pieces and top with corn salsa and sour cream.