Traditional Scottish Recipes
- Finnan Haddie
There are references to smoked fish in Scotland going back to the 16th century. James Boswell wrote about them in the 18th century, mentioning that Scottish smoked fish could be obtained in London. But these were heavily smoked (as a preservative) and a bit tough. In the late 19th century, as fast transportation by train became available, the Aberdeen fishing village of Findon (pronounced locally as "Finnan") began producing lightly smoked and delicately flavoured haddock (haddies) which were of a much finer texture. They were an immediate success and variations on these tasty fish have become very popular. They can be simply grilled with butter but here is a recipe with milk and onions which turns them into a delicately flavoured fish stew. The quantities are sufficient for four people.
One pound (500g) smoked haddock
One large onion, thinly sliced
14oz (400ml or one and two thirds of a cup) milk
½ teaspoon cracked pepper
1½ teaspoons mustard powder
1oz (30g or ¼ stick) butter, softened
2 teaspoons plain flour
1 finely chopped spring onion
Some finely chopped parsley
Place the thinly sliced onion in the base of a large pan. Cut the smoked haddock into pieces about ½" to an inch (2cm) wide and spread over the onion.
Mix the milk, pepper and mustard and pour over the fish. Bring to the boil slowly, reduce the heat to low and simmer covered for five minutes. Then uncover and simmer for another five minutes.
Remove the fish from the pan with a slotted spoon to allow the juices to run off and place in a warm serving dish. Continue to simmer the mixture in the pan for another five minutes, stirring frequently.
Mix the warm butter and flour and add to the pan along with the finely chopped spring onion. Stir over a low heat until the mixture comes to a slow boil and thickens slightly. Pour over the fish and serve with some finely chopped parsley.
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