Friday, 8 August 2008

Scottish Scran 2 - Finnan Haddie

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!

Finnan Haddie wi' a Poached Egg

  • 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
Prepare the Haddie...
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!

Scottish Word of the Day!

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!

mither - mah mither hus a lot tae answer fur!
maw - ah huv a lot o' tidyin' tae do afore ma maw gets in
mammie - ah cannae wait tae see ma mammie!

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A_and_N said...

Lovely pic :) The poached egg looks delightful!

Jen said...

Hi Kittie-- I'm not sure if I've ever seen smoked haddock here in the States (but then again I haven't ever specifically looked for it) but this looks like a great way to have fish for supper (I don't think I could do this for breakfast). Is there any other type of fish you think would work in this recipe?

P.S. I like your new banner.

kittie said...

thanks a_and_n - I'm usually rubbish at poaching eggs - I was so chuffed this one turned out!!

jen - I can't think of another fish that would do so well here - I think it needs to be white, firm and smoked. (Other fish would still be good - but it would be a different feel for the dish!) Have a check for smoked haddock or cod though - hopefully you can get them somewhere! Glad you like the new look :)

Mike of Mike's Table said...

This looks great, especially with that poached egg on top. I'm definitely enjoying the Scottish Scran series (keep 'em coming!). Also, yuck about yellow/orange haddock--very good to know.

Adam said...

Wow, your pic is awesome. I swear it's something straight out a magazine. You have a photography future, my dear.

Great looking dish, and I love your Scottish word(s) of the day :)

Have fun with maw

sunita said...

Such a wonderful series you have started...the dish looks lovely.

btw, we went to holiday in Scotland a couple of weeks ago...stayed at Fort William...loved, loved it :-)

...also loved all those endearing terms for your mammie :-P

kittie said...

Glad you like it Mike - much more to come!!

Thanks adam, that's a great compliment! Many more Scottish words to come too ;)

Fort William is such a lovely place sunita - I used to go camping there as a kid! What did you think of the food?!

glamah16 said...

Have a wonderful visit with your mother. Wull she be cooking /guest blogging? I could most definatley eat that poached smocked haddocck and eggs right now.

Foodycat said...

Yum! Not Scottish at all, but the best use I have come upon for a bit of smoked haddock is a tom yum soup.

Katie said...

That looks wonderful!

I have always wanted to travel to Scotland - what is it like?

Heather said...

That looks ace, Kittie! I bet smoked sturgeon would be top drawer, too. White, sweet fish with a poached egg is a toe-curl.

I love your vernacular lesson. :)

Dee said...

Glad you're still with the Scottish lessons :) Your picture is lovely too!

kittie said...

coco - I've tried to talk her into a guest post - but I think we've run out of time :( Been a great visit tho!!

ooooo - I think I might need to try that foodycat!

Thanks Katie! I loved living in Scotland - if you get to visit there be sure to visit Glasgow - and I'll give you some recommendations!!

Mmmmm - never tried sturgeon at all... or even seen them on sale round these parts, but I'll take your word for it!

Lots more Scottishness to come, dee ;)

Fearless Kitchen said...

This looks interesting - a great combination of flavors.

Kevin said...

This meal sounds great! I am going to have to look for some smoked haddock.

kittie said...

Thanks fk! The salty/smokiness of the haddock is beautiful with the creamy yolk!

I hope you find some Kevin :)

Sally Parrott Ashbrook said...

When I could still eat eggs, poached eggs on top of asparagus were one of my favorite food combinations. Even better with a layer of roasted potatoes, as well! said...

This product was put up in a tin and was enclosed in a wet paper, inside the tin.....
I do buy smoked haddock, and still have it with my cream sauce....mmmmgood.....but I yearn for more of that Brunswick chicken haddie -ie finnan haddie.......

Sammy said...

My Mom used to make Brunswick chicken haddie creamed on toast when we were kids. I am the youngest of three girls and don't relly remember this dish because I was too young when they took the chicken haddie off the market. However both my older sisters have raved about it for as long as I can remember. Recently I was in Sobey's (I live in Calgary, AB, Canada) and spotted Babineau's Chicken Haddie in the canned fish aisle! I was so excited that I bought 4 cans for each of my sisters! But my mom doesn't remember how she used to make you have a recipe for your Brunswick Creamed Chicken Haddie?

xlpharmacy said...

wow The poached egg looks delightful!, I haven't tasted this yet, but I would like to try this recipe on my next adventure in my kitchen, thanks for the recipe,