Smoked Haddock & Cream Sauce
Smoking is an ancient method of curing meat and fish, imparting a deep flavour into the flesh. Lightly poached and settled under a cream mushroom blanket! Delicious!
Accompany with something starchy and something green - here, Jersey Royal potatoes and some asparagus, both perfectly seasonal.
Jersey Royals are a cultivar of Kidney Potatoes and grown solely on the Isle of Jersey, and under the Common Agricultural Policy of the European Union covered by a Protected Designation of Origin (PDO). With a short season, between the end of April through to just into June, their unique flavour comes from Jersey's rich fertile earth and gentle climate. Get 'em while you can!
If potatoes are really not a part of your paleo diet, feel free to use pretty much any root: swede works well for me, mashed, or sweet potato, again, mashed.
Anyway, let's go poaching ...
Not that kind of poaching! Poaching a fish.
Begin by diluting some cream with water to make a milky consistency, add a bay leaf and a sprinkle white pepper - this is the poaching liquor. Why not use milk? Why, when cream does a perfectly good job.
Bring the poaching liquor up to a simmer in a skillet and gently lay the fish pieces in, turning after a few minutes. Turn the heat right down just to keep the fillets warm.
Wash, peel and boil the Jersey Royal potatoes or whatever roots you are going to eat.
Drop a good knob of butter into a pan and toss in a few sliced mushrooms. Allow the mushrooms to soak up the butter leaving the pan dry. Pour in some cream and settle on a low heat for the mushrooms to infuse a flavour and the cream reduce. You can let the cream really reduce and thicken, since we'll be letting it back out with the poaching liquor at the end.
Gently boil or steam your green veggies.
When the potatoes are ready, drain, drop a knob of butter into the pan and some chopped dill. Swirl around to coat the potatoes with the herb butter.
Retrieve the haddock from the poaching pan and settle onto a plate.
Your cream sauce should be really thick now and have changed to a mushroom brown colour. Let it out with a little poaching liquor, pouring in a small amount and watching for a change in consistency - you want a sauce which is not too thick, not to runny.
Pour the sauce over the fish and draw a line of crushed hazelnuts over the top. Grind some freshly milled black pepper over and garnish with a sprig, or two, of fresh dill.
Make a mound of potatoes alongside and a mound of green vegetables.
Grab your diggers and pile in!