It’s not the prettiest meal, but it’s a family favorite from Nova Scotia and this is what I remember my grandmother making. My mother, a vegan, will still make it for us, it’s that good. I was recently asked what my favorite food was, and I was stumped. The question was asked again, but this time “what’s you last meal?” Well, here it is so you can cook it for me.
Not so quick, you didn’t think I’d give up my secret? I’ve never actually used a recipe, but this should get you started, as best I recall I make it like this:
1 1/2 lbs (cold) Smoked Haddock
1 yellow onion, small, 1/4″ dice
4 TB unsalted butter
4 TB flour
1-2 C milk
On low temperature simmer the smoked haddock in just enough water to come halfway up side of fillets. Simmer until fish just begins to flake, then remove both (separately) from the pan to cool. This step allows you to control how salty the dish is as some finnan haddie is very salty.
In the pan add 4 TB unsalted butter and onion and cook (med heat) until wilted. During this whisk 4 TB flour into 1 C reserved fishy-water – there should be no lumps. Make a white sauce by slowly adding fishy-flour-water into onion, continuously whisking. Follow this with 1 Cup milk adjusting heat so that it just barely simmers, but never boils. Taste to test saltiness, then add more milk or if it needs more salt use remaining reserved fish-water. You will add fish which will increase saltiness again, so err on the side of caution. Continue to add milk or water until you have a consistency that sticks but is slightly runny, similar to gravy. Add fish and stir to break up large pieces and combine. Make final adjustments with salt, pepper. If its too runny, add flour being careful lumps don’t form. Play around with the consistancy and reduce to make thicker. Great time to test taste. An alternate method is that you could also add flour into onions then add the water back in. I think this has better (toasted butter flour) taste, but more susceptible to lumps.
Serve over toast points. Yes I butter the toast as well.
Some of the things I’ve added, increased or changed include: Small amount of sherry to taste, more butter, parsley, Dashi base, cream.
If you don’t have smoked haddock you can substitute imitation crab meat, bypass the water in first step and substitute milk, and then add 1 TB sherry with flour mixture. We call it “Fish-slop” and it works for when you don’t know what to do with that weird processed fish that has a fridge life of 9 months. No it’s nothing like finnan haddie.
Maybe I’ll refine the recipe if enough of you who can’t cook leave comments asking questions.