Finnan Haddie


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 .

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

6 Responses to Finnan Haddie

  1. Ronda says:

    Sounds very interesting, but I have a question, what is a Corn Toasty? I know what an English muffin is & whole grained toast, but that Toasty has me perplexed. I’m picturing a bowl of corn flakes, but I have a feeling that isn’t right. Besides how would you fit corn flakes in a toaster?!! 😉 This is definitely one I will try.

    • sbranch says:

      Its round and tastes sort of like corn bread, but it’s thin so it fits in the toaster — usually found near the English muffins in the bread aisle.

  2. Leslie Grima says:

    Creamed Fin and Haddie is what my scottish grandmother made, she did it a bit different. She boiled the fish, then saved the stock and made a white sauce and added the fish back in. Always served over mashed potatoes and with a side of petit peas. YUM!!!

    You have to try peanut butter and bananas, they are amazing…..I love it with a drizzle of honey and some sunflower seeds….all in a whole wheat wrap!! Yum!!

  3. Jessica H. says:

    I’ve never heard of nor seen corn toasties in any store in my whole life! Maybe it’s an east coast thing? I’ve seen crumpets in particularly well-stocked stores, but never a corn toasty.

    • sbranch says:

      They’re over by the English Muffins, both here on the island, and at my market in California, but I imagine they don’t carry them everywhere.

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