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Smoked Haddock with Spinach and Chive Butter Sauce

My thanks to cookery writer and dear friend Simon Hopkinson for this superb recipe, which he cooked for me at Bibendum one day for lunch – and had invented that day! Due to his generosity, all of us can make and savour what has become one of my very favourite fish recipes.


This recipe is taken from Delia Smith’s Winter Collection.


First you need to make the hollandaise sauce: place the butter in a small saucepan and let it melt slowly. Meanwhile, blend the egg yolks and seasoning in a liquidiser or food processor.

Then turn the heat up and when the butter reaches the boil, pour it into a jug and start to pour this very slowly into the liquidiser, in a thin trickle, with the motor running until all the butter is added and the sauce is thickened. Then, with the motor still switched on, slowly add the lemon juice. Then keep the sauce warm by placing it in a basin over some hot water.

To cook the fish, place it in a frying pan, pour in the milk, add some freshly milled pepper, then bring it all up to a gentle simmer. Cover and poach for 6-7 minutes. While that is happening, cook the spinach – melt the butter in a large saucepan and pile the spinach in with a teaspoon of salt and some freshly milled black pepper. Put the lid on and cook it over a medium heat for 2-3 minutes, turning it all over half way through. Quite a bit of water will come out, so what you need to do then is drain it in a colander and press down a small plate on top to squeeze out every last bit of juice. Cover with a cloth and keep warm.

When the haddock is ready, divide the spinach between 4 warm serving plates, and place the haddock pieces on top. Now just add a little of the poaching liquid (about 2 tablespoons) to the sauce and whisk it in along with the chives, then pour the sauce over the haddock and spinach. Serve straight away.

Note: this recipe contains raw eggs.


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