For my second edition of Scottish Scran, I present you to a dish which I most commonly associate with breakfast - even though here I am serving it as a supper.
A finnan haddie is a type of smoked haddock which originated in the town of Findon (also known as Finnan) near Aberdeen. Lightly salted and cold-smoked over peat, it replaced the older style spelding - a dry, salted unsmoked haddock that had been common until the advent of the railways made this lighter curing possible.
Beware of any smoked haddock that comes in an unearthly shade of yellow... or occasionally even orange! Smoked haddock has a naturally off-white colour - the bright coloured stuff has been artificially coloured - and may even have artificial smoke flavour injected into it rather than the real thing. Nasty!
I expect a couple of smoked haddock dishes to come up in my exploration - not least of the Arbroath Smokie...
But for now, I'll show you my favourite way to eat a finnan haddie - simply poached in milk, served with a lightly poached egg. As I ate it for supper here, I put it on a bed of lightly steamed asparagus (wilted spinach works a treat too), but for breakfast just add a slice of toast (or a couple of oatcakes!) and you're done!
- 150g smoked haddock per person
- 1 lightly poached egg per person. Or make it two!
- 6/7 spears asparagus per person, trimmed and lightly steamed
- Enough milk to cover the fish in a saucepan
- 6/7 black peppercorns (optional)
- 2 bay leaves (optional)
- butter (optional)
- salt to taste
Select a saucepan big enough to take all the fish and fill it a third up with milk. Add in the peppercorns and bay leaves (if using) and bring the milk to the boil.
Remove the skin and bones from the smoked haddock and place into the milk.
Bring the milk back to the boil, turn heat to low and simmer for 3 minutes. Turn off the heat and leave for 10 minutes.
Arrange the asparagus on the plate, and place chucks of the poached haddock on it. If you fancy, dot the haddock with some butter and add a grind of black pepper. Top with a poached egg.
If you fancy it, make a white sauce from the haddock poaching milk and pour a bit over the egg. I love this, but seldom bother making the extra dishes ;) An extra egg with a gorgeous oozy yolk is all the sauce I need!
Today, to mark the fact my mum is coming down to stay with me for a week I am going to give you three words in one... and they all mean mum!
maw - ah huv a lot o' tidyin' tae do afore ma maw gets in
mammie - ah cannae wait tae see ma mammie!