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John Quigley, chef-patron of the Red Onion Restaurant in Glasgow, shows how to cook Finnan Haddie, a Scottish delicacy dating back to the sixteenth century.
A pale, golden, smoked haddock from Findon near Aberdeen, it is filleted, cleaned and lightly salted, before being “cold smoked” for two or three hours. At this stage the haddock is seasoned but still raw.
The only way not to cook Finnan Haddie is to pan-fry it. Instead, grill it in a little butter, or bake in a hot oven for six or seven minutes, depending on the thickness of the fish, or wrap in clingfilm and pop it in the microwave for 90 seconds.
It goes well with a creamy cheese sauce, a sauce Mornay, using single cream, a tablespoon of parmesan and some grated mature Mull cheddar. Simmer until the cheese melts and thickens the sauce, then add chopped parsley and frozen peas.
Poach an egg in a pan of simmering water that has been whisked to create a vortex so that the egg stays together.
Mash some soft flowery white potatoes – Maris Piper, King Edwards or Ayrshire. Peel, then chop into even sizes – diced to around two inches. Cook then drain, and add unsalted butter: 70% potato, 30% butter. Add white pepper and salt to taste. Mash it by reheating in a pan or a microwave. Add finely sliced spring onion, to make champ.