Smoked Haddock, Leek & Bacon Gratin

I’ve recently been toying with the idea of adding some Everyday Recipes to my blog -I spend quite a lot of time preparing food for my brood – and I always think it’s nice to share recipes with friends!

I’ve deliberately kept the instructions as simple as possible – you never know, one day my kids might read my blog and decide to give it a go!

My mum used to make this delicious dish, that we all called ‘Fish Pie’ – she made hers with mash on top. It’s more of a gratin really. I usually serve mine with New Potatoes and peas – but it might even work with a crisp, green salad. It’s a real tasty crowd-pleaser, and definitely my son’s favourite…

(Serves 6)

STAGE ONE – THE GRATIN BASE

  • Poach (gently cook) 4-5 pieces of mixed fish in some milk (roughly a pint) – I use a mixture of Cod and Smoked Haddock – the smoked fish adds real flavour!
  • Add some black peppercorns – smoked fish is fairly salty, so there’s no need to add any salt.
  • After 5-10 mins the fish will start to flake up and become tender. Remove pan from the heat, lift fish out of milk with a slotted spoon and transfer into your chosen cooking dish. With a fork, gently break up the fillets into rough chunks.
  • DONT THROW THAT MILK AWAY! Drain it, preferably through a sieve, into a bowl or jug – you’ll need the milk for later.
  • Gently saute 1-2 leeks (or an onion if preferred) and some chopped rashers of smoked bacon in some oil. Add a knob of butter for richness.
  • When the leek/onion softens and the bacon begins to crisp up, add it into the flaked fish.
Looks nice already….

STAGE 2 – THE WHITE SAUCE

  • Gently melt a couple tablespoons butter in a saucepan.
  • Add in roughly the same amount of plain flour.
  • Take off heat and stir – the butter and flour should resemble cookie dough.
  • Now start to add that fishy milk that you reserved earlier – just a little at a time, stirring continuously over a low heat. Keep things moving to avoid lumps. Using a balloon whisk can be helpful.
  • Keep adding the milk, bit by bit, stirring continually and quite rapidly until it’s incorporated into the sauce. The dough-like mixture will start to thin down into a smooth, silky, creamy sauce (a bechamel). Add more milk if you need to. You’re looking for a consistency that is pourable, but not runny.
Bechamel/White Sauce
  • Grate in some Cheddar Cheese and stir – adding more milk if it gets too claggy.

STAGE THREE – MIX IT ALL UP AND BAKE IT!

  • Pour the white sauce over the fish, leek and bacon mix, add some fresh chopped parsley and maybe a little tarragon. Give it all a mix!
  • Grate some parmesan cheese on top and bake for 30-40 mins, at 190 degrees celcius (160 fan), until bubbling and browned.
Even the burnt bits taste nice!

Just add some crusty bread and a glass of white wine…Bon Appetit! You’ll be asking for more!

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