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Smoked Haddock with Potatoes, Spinach, Cream  and Thyme Extract taken from River Cottage Great Roasts by Gelf Alderson (Bloomsbury, £20 Hardback) Photography © Emma Lee
October 2023
Reading time 2 Minutes
I love smoked fish and I'm fortunate enough to be able to smoke my own, but I appreciate this is unusual. Most good fishmongers and supermarket fish counters sell naturally smoked fish, which is pale yellow in colour. Avoid anything that is bright yellow, as this will have been dyed and most likely dipped in a smoke-flavoured cure rather than smoked properly. If you have any leftovers (which I doubt), thin down with a little stock the next day for a hearty chowder-like lunch.
  • 500g new potatoes, skin on
  • 2 tbsp extra virgin olive oil
  • 2 leeks, trimmed and cut into 1cm slices
  • 5 sprigs of thyme
  • 200g spinach (tougher stalks removed and roughly chopped if using large leaf spinach)
  • 400g MSC-certified smoked haddock fillets (or any smoked sustainably caught white fish), pin boned and skinned
  • 400ml double cream
  • A small glass of dry white wine
  • 50g mature Cheddar, grated
  • 20g pumpkin seeds
  • A pinch of paprika
  • Sea salt and freshly cracked black pepper

Preheat the oven to 220C/200C Fan/Gas 7.

Put the new potatoes into an ovenproof pan or roasting tray. Trickle over the extra virgin olive oil, season lightly with salt and pepper and toss to coat. Cook in the oven for 25–30 minutes until the potatoes are just softened all the way through.

Take the pan out and use the back of a fork to just break each potato. Add the leeks and thyme, stir and cook in the oven for 10 minutes. Now add the spinach and return to the oven for a couple of minutes until it is just wilted. In the meantime, cut the fish into two centimetre cubes. Remove the pan from the oven and add the smoked haddock, cream and white wine. Stir together and return to the oven for 12–15 minutes, until the fish is cooked.

Take out the pan again and turn the oven setting up to 230C/220C Fan/Gas 8. Sprinkle over the grated cheese, then the pumpkin seeds and paprika. Return to the oven for a few minutes until the cheese is melted and starting to brown. Serve at once.

This works well if you replace the smoked fish with small or halved larger chestnut mushrooms.

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