If I tell you the name of this recipe will you run away?


First off, welcome to all of you from Willard! Big kisses and hugs ((((u))))!  So happy you’re here, happy to be here to welcome you!  Scroll down to the next post for all the contest info.

Phlox grows wild in our garden

I promised yesterday I’d put up a new recipe today, so here goes . . . It’s called Finnan Haddie. Did I hear a sort of collective euw?  Not from those who know better, but from people like me?  I suppose I do. But I’m here to change your mind just like my girlfriend Lowely changed mine.  She lives two doors over from me and dropped in early one morning last week; we were sitting at the kitchen table, drinking tea, shooting the breeze, talking food — talking about the breakfasts of our childhood. 

On the paths between the houses of friends, grass does not grow.

She obviously came from a more sophisticated family than mine — at our house we ate pancakes and sophisticated was when my mom tossed cinnamon hearts into the oatmeal on Valentine’s Day.   Lowely’s mom made something for her called Finnan Haddie (with eight vocal children, my mom didn’t have the nerve to serve smoked fish for breakfast).  Lowely had mentioned this dish before, how much she loved it (I lowered my eyes so not to give away my alarm, please don’t make me eat this).  p.s. flower photos are for cheering up…top one is wild phlox, love it, and then of course, a rose is a rose. 

However, dot dot dot … I’m happy to say, I’m still learning.  And if you hear of a classic dish such as this, you have to believe there is some sort of redeeming quality.
Despite my wrinkled nose, or maybe because of it, the next morning Lowely showed up in my kitchen carrying a big shopping bag — before I figured it out, it was too late, I’d already let her in —  she pulled out an ominously long package in white butcher paper.  It was smoked haddock.  Uh oh.
Looks harmless enough.

A person, should they choose to make this, would need about a third of a pound per person.

She removed the skin from the fish (which the fish market will do for you if you ask), then she cut it up with kitchen shears . . . into bite-sized chunks.

As she cut the fish, she checked it for any bones and discarded them.

During this time, I hid behind a camera and tried to be big and open minded.

Joe stood by with tiny bits of drool forming at lip corners.


Into a small saucepan it went.

She cut it, and she also flaked a little bit of it too.  Big and little pieces.







Out of the shopping bag came cream . . . she poured it over the fish, just to cover; brought it all to a boil, and simmered it uncovered for 20 minutes…then she began to season it with pepper, a pinch of nutmeg, a tiny pinch of cayenne.  And that was all!

I was starting to get interested.  Who doesn’t love nutmeg? Who doesn’t like cream?

But then came the coup de grace . . .


. . . Corn Toasties and English muffins!  Both of which I could eat all day.  She put a toasted Toasty on one plate and a toasted English muffin on another, and plain whole grained toast on a third.  Then came a big spoonful of the creamed fish on each and a sprinkle of chives we cut from the garden.  We got out three forks, and we sat at the table, all eating off of all the plates. Mmmmmmm, lip smacking, eye rolling. 

I’ll tell you what it tastes like … it’s a mild, soft, delicate creamy flavor on crunchy toast; very homey, comfort food. It’s like creamed tuna on toast only about a thousand times better.  We agreed we liked it on the Corn Toasty the best, but we really liked all of them. There was, to be honest, discussion of plate licking.  You could easily serve this to your children (just don’t say fish, say tuna); your friends would love it at a summer brunch; heaven for breakfast in bed.

If finding smoked haddock is a concern, you can always get an overnight delivery from our unbelievable fish market here on the island…they have everything, including lobsters, exquisite oysters and clams, all wild, fresh, and local, and they have an expert shipping set-up.  Call The Net Result, tell Louie I sent you, 1-800-394-6071 — you can see the Net Result here www.mvseafood.com .

Next, I’m promising myself I will try peanut butter and bananas, but I have to say, it sounds hideous. 

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61 Responses to If I tell you the name of this recipe will you run away?

  1. Angie(Tink!) says:

    Good~Morning Sweet Sue…Fish for Breakfast…I’ll try anything Once….& You & Joe & Lowely seemed to have Enjoyed it! It’s Good to Try New Things! Thank~You! & I Can’t wait to tell Herbster about The Over~Night Fish Market on Your Island! We’ll Tell Louie You Sent Us! (Huge Smile on My Face!) Wishing You A Dazzling Day! P.S. Taylor & I Eat Peanut~Butter & Bananas…All The Time but You Need to Drizzle a Bit of Honey on it… Yumminess! xoxo Poof! ♥ 🙂

    • Paula Lewis says:

      Gee, I thought I was the only one who put honey on pb & b!! LOL everyone seems to know the secret to the best ever peanut butter sandwich!

  2. Gert says:

    My dear Susan,

    I like you was not so sure about this (but was sure my Tom would love it) however as I continued to read and see the pictures I think I too would really enjoy it. Will check our local market out. Thank you for sharing…isn’t this fun?? I love to blog too!!

    xoxo Gert

  3. Tricia B. says:

    Susan, Good Morning Dearest!! What is a corn toastie? Love the post…as always, I love all of your work!! Have a blessed day!! Tricia 🙂

    • sbranch says:

      Little thin corn breadish things that you toast in the toaster, they’re round, and they should be at your supermarket. You have a wonderful day too! Thank you!

  4. Pom Pom says:

    I got my Willard! Thank you! It’s lovely, as always.
    You are so funny (and warm and cozy) talking about how your super star mom did things! My family ate a lot of fish in the Northwest and my dad’s family being 100% Norwegian ate fish in many wiggly ways. This recipe looks and sounds good, but I’ll save my fish eating for dinner time.
    Blogging is FUN forever. I keep thinking I might get tired of it, but nope! For three years I have loved the hospitable format and learned so much from so many people. You are so relational, Susan. I can see why you LOVE posting frequently and we are all so happy you do! Do you know what I might do today? I may go to the bookstore and buy your summer book. I think I need a little treat. I hope your day smells good, looks good, and is good. You’re a blessing. Oh, I also got my Friends of Gladys Taber email, so I must take care of that today. Smile.

  5. Carla Meredith says:

    Have always enjoyed all you do, but loving the Blog…congratulations! Just a little suggestion for your maiden voyage into the world of PB and B. Toasted half of english muffin, spread with favorite PB, add thinly sliced banana (not TOO ripe), drizzle with honey. I especiallly love tea and milk with this. Be brave! ~Carla

  6. Nellie says:

    Good morning, Susan! Willard was a joy, as usual! Not sure about fish for breakfast, although Gene would enjoy the creaminess. I’ve never had peanut butter and banana, though Gene takes it hidden in his golf bag when he goes to play golf; says it is a life saver.:-) Our morning fog has lifted, and it promises to be a sunny day. Have a great Wednesday! xoxo

  7. Pam Coblyn says:

    Hi Sue,

    Just a month ago I heard Lowely mention the finnan haddie. It brought back childhood memories. My mother used to make this for us when the winter was biting cold—she called it Brain Food and sent us off to school feeling extra smart and with warm stomachs.

    Chip and I will be on MV starting August and we look forward to joining you under the trees for a picnic. I make a savory Rosemary Shortbread with Goat Cheese Spread for an app!

  8. Nubby Frauenzimmer says:

    Hello Susan,
    Greetings from “June Gloom” Southern California…San Clemente, to be exact.
    This my first time to even comment like this but I wanted you to know that your work and writings nourish my soul! Thank you.

    You spoke of trying a peanut butter & banana sandwich. Now here is something to put on your “To Try” list: PEANUT BUTTER AND DILL PICKLE SANDWICH! I grew up eating these and still do at age 71. It is my go to comfort food!

    Keep on blessing us with your mussing and artwork…love ’em, love ’em!
    Nubby (yes, it is a nick name that I’ve had since the day I was born.)

  9. Kathy Nagel says:

    Good Morning Susan!
    I love your blog! Now in addition to waking up and writing in my beautiful “Days” journal, I can check in on-line for some more smiles ;-). Your dinner under the arbor looked beautiful!! I sent the youtube link to my niece who has a cozy, little cottage on the cape. She is also a red-head like me and her husband’s name is Brendan – so we call their cottage – the GingerBrend House :-). I’m sure she’ll love the music!!
    I couldn’t find the link for the drawing…but actually I have most everything you’ve published and order them regularly for gifts!

    • sbranch says:

      Hi Kathy! The link is in that column on the right of the blog — it says RSS FEED, you just click on it. I love GingerBrend . . . lol, too cute. xoxo

  10. Jane says:

    Thank you for being the guinea pig on this recipe. I’ve seen it before in old cookbooks but never had the courage to try it. I do love a bit of broiled brook trout and fried potatoes for breakfast, if someone will prepare it for me! So fish for breakfast is foreign to me. Now I’m hungry for smoked fish. Best eaten on newspapers on a picnic table. Yummers!

    • sbranch says:

      My pleasure 🙂 — Yes there’s something earthy and rustic about it. I think it would also be delicious with cherry tomatoes cooked in a frying pan with a little bit of olive oil, salt and pepper and some basil….. sort of mixing in with the cream . . .almost lunchtime, getting hungry!

  11. Rachel Lucas says:

    Hi sweetie – just off to the movies as I HAVE to do something that isn’t baking or my brain will addle!! Love this post…of course in the good old UK, we are used to smoked fish in many guises for breakfast. First there’s kippers.. hot & grilled (broiled?!), with cold butter on top & plenty of brown bread (in case of bones, they help to smooth them down…my Granddad always said!) then there’s Kedgeree, that wonderful dish from our terrible Imperial Raj past. Smoked haddock, rice, hard boiled egg…all lightly curried & served w mango chutney. Then there’s smoked salmon & scrambled egg of course…Finnan Haddie from Auld Scotland…yum yum. Love them all. But then, I’m from the country that serves kidneys at breakfast too…! Looks wonderful, tell Lowely I love her! xoxo

    • sbranch says:

      I’ll do it! Smoothing down bones with bread, good one. Now I know where you get it. xoxo love you

  12. Laura Jenkins says:

    lol! Loved the recipe…we adore fish! Reading about your apprehension reminded me of a trip to Scotland about 5 years ago…our hosts took us out to dinner where they proceeded to order “Cullen Skink” for our meal…sounded like kitchen sink to me…but, we put our trust in their choice, and loved every spoonful! It is always fun to try something new….will put this on the list! xo

  13. Candice says:

    Peanut butter and bananas may sound gross to you, but you should try it. It’s delicious! I’ve been known to have a peanut butter and banana sandwich in my life and it’s a taste sensation!

  14. Sorry Dear, but you lost me, at the sight of smoked haddock. And I really wanted to run away, when she began cutting it up into smaller pieces.


    Not all of us, have the same taste buds, I guess.

    But thank you for sharing this, with those who will love it.

    Gentle hugs,
    “Auntie Amelia”

  15. Vickie T. says:

    I had to google “corn toasties.” I have never seen them before but will definitely look for them at my grocery store here in Northern CA. I bet this recipe is delicious with the cream! Thanks for sharing this with us. I love that your friend showed up the next day and made it in your kitchen!

  16. Holly says:

    Lovely Susan!!
    What a joy to read my Willard today and see that you have a blog! I’ve barely scrolled through it and it’s already my favorite!! I have been a fan since the very beginning, have all your books (actually 3 of each for my children to have when they marry and make home!). You are in my scrapbooks and quilts, recipe books too! Your notepads sit by the phone and I’m always needing a new journal!!
    Thank you for sharing your talents, ideas, photos and precious thoughts!
    So excited to read more…off I go!!

  17. Yum! I’d only heard of this dish through lyrics of a song I learned in high school…(“My Heart Belongs To Daddy”)…and had never actually known what it was! Sounds delish! Just discovered your blog today, too…yay! I’ve always admired your artistic talent. Thank you for sharing your gift with the rest of the world!

  18. Pat Mofjeld says:

    Thanks for the recipe, I was curious. I have a degree in Home Ec. and wasn’t familiar with it so was wondering what it is. “Corn Toasties”–hmmm, have never seen them here in MN but will look. Would they be good with creamed chipped beef, too, in case I chicken out on the fish? 🙂 My Norwegian husband LOVES fish. If I show him this, he might request I make it though I’m not sure I could do it for breakfast… I came from Iowa where tuna, fish sticks from the grocery store, and occasional Walleye from a vacation to MN was about it for fish while I was growing up… 🙂 Could a person make this with smoked salmon, too? I LOVE lobster, though, if I had to cook it myself, probably would never get it! After seeing the menu on Willard, you had me kind of scared–IF I was going to ever cook for you, wow, what would I make??? Thanks for the reminder of how you grew up… 🙂 Well, your comments re peanut butter and bananas reminds me of something. We grew up mixing peanut butter and mayonnaise for a sandwich. This is something that totally grosses out my husband. But then, I can’t get him interested in trying a walnut sandwich, either… LOL 🙂

  19. Tracy Nassau says:

    Hi Susan! Today is my birthday and I am so delighted to be reading the latest Willard and checking out your blog on MY DAY!! It just adds to the perfectness of it all…beautiful weather, the companionship of yellow lab Ellie, and sipping lemonade outside under the umbrella! And, surprisingly, I see two names I recognize out of 21 responses here….how wild is that??!! Hi Kathy N (I’m Colleens sisterinlaw)….and Hi Liz C of B !!! It just figures
    that we have this commonality of loving Susan Branch. I just adore your books and I can hardly wait for you to publish another. PLEASE hurry….. 🙂

  20. Jan says:

    Sweet Sue,
    You will LOVE bananas and peanut butter!!! I’m even going to try the fish dish just for you :o)

    Love you Lots!

  21. Marsha Gibbons says:


    My best friend gave me The Summer Cookbook as a birthday present in 1995. I’ve always loved it……as much for your writing and drawing as for the recipes! Though they are very yummy. And yes, I have Christmas, too. It’s got at least 15 paper clips marking favorite recipes and ideas! You have a way of creating that has endless appeal for me and spurs me on to be more creative as well. Thank you for years of inspiration. I love reading blogs and you are now added to my faves. Take care! Oh, I’m going to make the blueberry bread pudding on the 4th!!

  22. Carol Miller says:

    I just love your blog. Found it last week. What a wonderful treat. thanks

  23. gemma says:

    Hi Susan….
    Welcome to blogland.
    Thanks for all of your delightful and inspiring words.

  24. Evelyn says:

    Hi Susan,

    I bet you’d love peanut butter and bananas. I used to make it for my kids for lunch when they were little. It’s kinda like peanut butter and caramel. Try it sometime…you’ll be a convert. Just read the latest Willard and so enjoyed it. You are so gifted…love all the accompanying quotes too. You paint pretty word pictures as well as painted pictures. Love being able to correspond with you after loving your books for so many years. Have a glorious 4th!!!

  25. Dear Susan,
    I just wanted to take a moment to thank you for reminding the world about the sweetness of life! I have been enjoying your work for ten years, since I first decorated our first daughter’s baby book with your lovely “baby” stickers. Now, here I am in the dreariness of winter in Lima, Peru, completing the adoption of our third daughter. Today I was feeling a particular homesickness (even though our whole family is here), and your newsletter and blog brightened my heart right up! Thank you for what you do, and for providing the backdrop for the photos of our lives.
    Many blessings,
    Rhonda LaBatt

  26. Shelagh says:

    Hooray! Fin and Haddie:)
    Takes me back to my childhood. My Scottish Gran used to get a piece of smoked Haddock from the fish truck that stopped outiside her door every Thursday. She would simmer it in milk just like you did, but do the whole fillet and then………..just before it was done, she would CRACK AN EGG on top of it andgently poach the egg in that lovely smokey broth. My Grandad’s fave!
    Love your “new” blog:)
    Cheers, Shelagh from Nova Scotia
    aka Alice in Paris

  27. Betty Birney says:

    Love the blog! My favorite breakfast on a trip to Scotland last year was ham and haddie. That’s a piece of smoked haddock topped with a piece of ham (English ham which is more like Canadian bacon) and on top of that a poached egg. Yum– this was at a lovely restaurant that served truly gourmet organic food. Best smoked salmon in the world in Scotland, too.

  28. Bobbi Palmer says:

    I LOVE your Blog, I feel like I just got a little present when I get an email telling you’ve added a post. Thank you for brightening up my day!

  29. It all sounds delicious! Banana and Pnut Butter sandwiches are my absolute favorite!

  30. lisa says:

    Oh my goodness. My 87 year old mother often spoke of having finnan haddie when she was a child. She had no idea what it was – just that she loved it. I’ll have to give her the scoop! Its so funny because she hates fish 🙂

  31. Ashley says:

    I’m coming over from Willard. 🙂 I just love your work. It is all such an inspiration to me and always brings a smile to my face…
    In fact, I wrote a blog post about your “classic” the Summer Book. I’m having such a fun time looking through it and reading all of the little tidbits this summer.

  32. Ruth Gardner Lamere says:

    Hi Susan !
    Have loved your books since they started coming out ! Finan Haddie is a childhood favorite for me too, as my English mother made it quite often, but always for dinner. You are an inspiration to me, and to many, for your unfailing enthusiasm and many talents and just plain niceness. I live in Duxbury Massachusetts, not unlike The Vineyard, and summer (or “summah,” as my many children say) is in her full pre-July 4th glory. Makes me glad to be alive.

  33. clair says:

    Forget the fish! Bring on the blueberry bread pudding mentioned in the Willard. Now THAT’S healthier than a fish dish any day!! Haha!

  34. LOVE Finnan Haddie, but had quite forgotten about it! My late Mother in law taught me how to make it nearly the same way, many, many years ago (I think she used milk, but the cream sounds fabulous)…Thanks for reminding me!

    ♥ Carolee

  35. Judith B. says:

    The fish dish I could do for lunch or dinner; don’t think I could stomach it for Breakfast. Had peanut butter and banana sandwich for the first time recently and loved it; I too was always hesitant. For breakfast I now eat an English muffin with peanut butter and some sliced bananas on top; drizzled with a little honey. Like it better with the English muffin than regular bread – more texture.

  36. Sharon Griffith says:

    Ahhh Susan you will love pb and bananna….. and I love the blog, yeah!

  37. Beth Grbch says:

    Hello Dear Susan,
    So glad you are staying healthy, as I do LOVE getting your letters.
    Just had to share a little tea recipe I just found for beautiful skin,
    (healthy and beautiful, can it get any better?)
    I had to try it and thought I would share it with you.
    Seep in 2 cups of water…….
    1/2 tsp whole cumin seed & 1/2 tsp white coriander seed & 1/2 tsp whole Fennel.
    Sip through out the day. It tastes better warm.
    I just started, so we’ll see if it really works. Happy sipping…Hugs!

  38. Beth Grbich says:

    Oops…please remember to strain the seeds before drinking.

  39. Joann says:

    This sounds wonderful–I love smoked fish and I never thought of eating it for breakfast but my oh my….why not? OK, I will!!!

  40. Gumbo Lily says:

    I think your fish dish looks delish (Dr. Seuss-esque).
    However, my family is a bunch of land-lubber rancher types and I doubt I could get them to eat this for supper. Perhaps I can just come to your house to have it?


  41. Sandra Gillanders says:

    Loved this post. My dad was a Scotsman and I remember him mentioning Fin and Haddie.To me it sounds like two kids my dad grew up with, Fin and his sister Haddie. Since it looks delicious, I AM going to give it a try regardless of the name. The toastie would win my vote also, love them.

  42. Jake says:


    Although I enjoyed all of this post, as usual, the one thing that stood out was the mention of creamed tuna on toast! I didn’t know that anyone else in the world had eaten creamed tuna on toast! When I was growing up we didn’t have a lot to spare, but I remember this dish at least once a week and it was so delicious. Even today I think about it and when I tell my kids about it, they make all kinds of funny faces. I tell them they don’t know what they’re missing. In fact, creamed tuna on toast is on the menu for tomorrow night – with that pure white, squishy, totally devoid of nutrition bread… Of course, I might be the only one who eats it…

    Finnan haddie sounds delicious, too. I’ll have to try it… Along with that heavenly blueberry bread pudding you mentioned in Willard.

    Thanks for brightening another day!


  43. Jenny says:

    PB and Bananas is a good combo, haven’t tried PB and dill pickles, but the BEST EVER is PB and bacon!

  44. Shasta says:

    Thank you so much for the blog Susan! It’s so wonderful to have you on my Google reader, every day when I go on it to catch up on blogs I save yours for the last because it’s always the *Best*!
    P.S.- Try putting Bananas on toast with with chunky PB, drizzle with honey and pour yourself a cold glass of milk! Heaven!

  45. Dede says:

    The fish dish sounds really foreign for me—we have fish either fried, grilled or baked here in Kansas.
    But as to the peanut butter–I love it with bananas or pickles. Have had my PB that way since a kid. I was told yesterday by my 85 year old friend that she likes her peanut butter sandwiches with a small amount of mustard! I will give that a try but not sure about the mayonaise–LOL

  46. Wendi Unrein says:

    yummmmm…..my first haddock was on a windjammer in Maine and I loved it! I don’t really like fish but i do like haddock! Thanks for sharing this!

  47. Barbara says:

    You have such a wonderful talent, Susan and adding the blog is like getting a present from you everytime you post….I have eated the PB & Banana sandwiches since I was a small girl and you will love them. My dad was one of ten children and his mother served these a lot….memories! I also love fish, with salmon being one of my favorites, but to be honest, I don’t think I could do fish for breakfast. I will keep an open mind and try your recipe for a luncheon though….til next time

  48. We eat smoked salmon for breakfast all the time here in Montreal!

    Your recipe reminds me of an old Nova Scotia recipe called Hodge Podge which is like a vegetable stew. You put a layer of diced new potatoes in a pot and cover it with dots of butter and cream (some people use broth first, then add the cream.) Then, as the potatoes cook, you add other vegetables like green and yellow beans, layering them and adding more cream as needed. It’s served with crusty bread. Yum! Pam (love, love, LOVE this new blog!)

  49. Ginnie says:

    Have loved your stuff for years! I’m so glad you’ve added a blog to your communications offerings. You add so much brightness to this world – thank you!

  50. Jacqui Garver says:

    Dear Susan,
    I love fish- so healthy and all that…not sure if this is my ‘cup of tea’ BUT I’ll try anything once:) Really enjoying this New England weather on my vacay from the tropics. Such a lovely day today in CT. And the HILLS…I’d forgotten! Have a great afternoon,

    FOSB 4-Ever

  51. Sue says:

    My husband LOVES creamed tuna on toast (made it for himself the other day), so I’ll definitely have to try this and surprise him:)

  52. Rita Wilson says:

    Hi Susan,
    You mentioned peanut butter & banana, you need to try mustard & oreo cookies. I have been eating these since I was 5 years old, (now 59). My Mom, Dad & brother were on vacation in Gatlinburg, we pulled over at this beautiful picnic area for lunch. We had hot dogs, potatoe chips & oreo cookies, & some how I managed to come up with a new thing to do with mustard, of course it was to put it on my oreo. I love it!!!!
    Have a very nice 4th of July weekend……….

  53. Debi Botteron says:

    You will love P B and Banana, be sure and try it on Miltons Ancient Grain bread with Bee Humble Coastal Sage Honey from Corralitos, CA, best honey I have had in my life. We get it at our Farmers Market but you can order online. Blessings to you!

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