Wednesday, January 8, 2014

perfect poached eggs and haddock

Ever tasted something so simple, so old school, but so perfect? Langan's Brasserie does a poached eggs with smoked haddock that so hits the mark, it seems a shame to try and recreate it. You actually might as well go there for the real thing. Great place, wonderful service and proper decent honest food. Their snails in garlic and parsley butter decent too, Welsh rarebit very good (salad dressing on the leaves outstanding) and a very very good lemon tart.

All that said, there is nothing quite like that bursting egg yolk running into the poached haddock, thickening the sauce and in this version here, soaking into cabbage spiked mashed potato. This is where ingredients come together to continually improve a dish as you eat. We don't have enough of these.

Smoked haddock with poached egg and colcannon

Serves 4

about 400ml milk, for poaching
200ml light fish stock
1 bay leaf
4 skinned smoked haddock portions, each about 160g
2 shallots, finely chopped
300ml double cream
1 tbsp chopped dill
4 eggs
knob of butter

for the colcannon
300g Savoy cabbage, cut into rough 2cm pieces
salt and freshly ground white pepper
6 spring onions, shredded
400g floury potatoes, cooked and mashed
40g butter, or more if necessary

Cook the cabbage in boiling salted water for about 5-6 minutes until soft, but not overcooked. Add the spring onions and simmer for another 30 seconds drain in a colander then mix with the mashed potato, butter and seasoning. Keep warm in a covered pan until required, or allow to cool and reheat in the microwave when required.

While the colcannon is cooking, bring the milk and fish stock to the boil with the bay leaf. Add the haddock, bring back to the boil and simmer for 3-4 minutes. Remove the fish carefully and transfer to a plate. Cover with foil and keep warm.

Transfer half of the cooking liquid to a clean pan, add the shallots and boil to reduce the liquid by two-thirds. Add the double cream and reduce it again by two-thirds, or until it thickens to coating consistency. Adjust the seasoning if necessary, add the chopped dill and simmer for another minute.

While the liquid is being reduced, poach the eggs until just set but still soft inside. 

Spoon the colcannon on to warmed plates, carefully break the haddock fillets in half and press carefully into the colcannon. Drain the eggs with a slotted spoon and rest them in between the two pieces of haddock. Finish the sauce by stirring in the knob of butter and spoon it over the eggs and fish to serve.