Sunday, February 17

Milk Poached Smoked Haddock, Parsley Sauce

I was feeling a little under the weather this week, a bit tired; sleep deprived even; malnourished most likely. I needed something soothing, something my Mum or Gran would cook a poorly child. 

There is no easy way to make poached haddock and parsley sauce sexy. It's merits lie within, an unconventional beauty. A bit like the 'girl next door' don't fancy her until your paths have crossed a few times.  Smokey haddock, parsley, buttery mash, irony greens, an almost bland white's all there flavour wise.......just remember to look beyond the 'boat race'.

Full fat milk - 1/2 pint
Plain Flour - 1 heaped tbsp
Butter - 1 heaped tbsp
Onion - 1/2, peeled and roughly sliced
Clove - 1
Lightly cracked black pepper corns - 10
Bay leaves - 2, scrunched up
Parsley - A big handful once picked and chopped.
Naturally smoked and undyed haddock - 2x200g portions taken from the loin.

First infuse the milk with the onion, clove, pepper and bay leaves. Put in a suitable pan and bring to just under the boil. Take off the heat and allow to infuse for 20 mins. Pass the milk through a sieve saving the milk, discard the rest. Return the milk to the pan and add the haddock portions - no need to season as smoked fish is usually cured and therefore salty enough. Cover the fish with a circle of baking parchment and bring the milk back to the simmer. The baking parchment ensures the fish cooks evenly by holding the steam in. Remove the pan from the heat and allow the fish to gently cook in the residual heat of the milk - this should take approx 10 mins. Gently remove the fish and keep warm.

Melt the butter in a small cup in the microwave. When melted, add the flour and stir in until all the lumps have gone - this buttery mush is called a 'beurre maniĆ©' in the trade. Bring the milk back to the simmer for the last time and add the beurre maniĆ© whisking the sauce to incorporate. The sauce should thicken almost immediately but you need to simmer for another minute or so to cook out the flour. Check the seasoning of the sauce, remove from the heat and whisk in the finely chopped parsley leaves. Serve immediately with buttery mash and green vegetables of your choice.

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