When you get an invitation that has lunch at Eden Restaurant as part of the deal, you say yes and then ask questions later.
So it was that I found myself
dining stuffing my gob at Eden during the launch by the Temple Bar Cultural Trust of their well-packed 2010 programme of events (which, I am delighted to report, includes the return of the Chocolate Festival, this time making a pre-Christmas appearance in December).
However, before the gob-stuffing got underway, I wondered did my fellow lunchers notice quite how much time I had spent staring at the menu? Or if they had caught the slight trepidation in my voice as I ordered the smokies?
Smokies, you see, are a permanent and much-loved part of the menu at Eden. A starter of smoked haddock in a sauce of crème fraîche, with cherry tomatoes, spring onions and melted red cheddar.
Smoked haddock, however, has not passed my lips since childhood.
During my youth, my mother’s smoked-haddock-in-some-kind-of-white-sauce was the most singularly reviled dish of my acquaintance. A fish-on-fridays staple, it was the cause of countless you-will-not-leave-the-table-til-you-finish-your-dinner standoffs.
However, as I looked at the Eden menu, I realised that it was time, at last, to give smoked haddock a second chance.
And so the smokies were ordered and the smokies were eaten, happily. I even went out and bought some smoked haddock the very next day, figuring that we had a lot of catching up to do. And where else to begin, but with some spuds.
Smoked Haddock Hash
This is what happens when you take some leftover boiled spuds and fry them up with the ingredients that Eden use to make their legendary smokies.
As for the melted cheese on top, it may be anathema to some who think that fish and cheese should not meet on the same plate, but it works for the original smokies and I think it works here too.
- olive oil for frying
- 150g smoked haddock fillet
- 400g boiled potatoes
- 4 spring onions
- 200g cherry tomatoes (around 10-12 cherry tomatoes)
- 100g crème fraîche
- coarse salt to taste
- freshly ground black pepper to taste
- 25g sharp cheddar
- Cut the haddock into bite-size pieces, around 1cm wide, and slice the potatoes into pieces around 0.5cm thick, leaving the skin on if you like or peeling it off if you don’t. Finely slice the white and green parts of the spring onions and quarter the tomatoes.
- Place a large frying pan over a medium-high heat. When hot, add enough olive oil to coat the pan. Add the haddock pieces to the pan and stir and fry for 3-4 minutes or until the pieces are opaque and just cooked through. Remove the haddock to a plate.
- Return the pan to the heat and add another coating of olive oil and the sliced potatoes. Stir and fry, breaking up any larger pieces of potato as you do so, for around 10 minutes or until they are starting to brown.
- Add the spring onions and tomatoes and stir and fry for another 2-3 minutes
- Add the crème fraîche, haddock pieces, a couple of twists of black pepper and coarse salt to taste. Stir and fry for about another minute.
- Remove from the heat, sprinkle with some grated sharp cheddar and place the pan under the grill for a minute or so, allowing the cheese to melt. Now serve up, perhaps with some nice crusty buttered bread on the side.
- You could, of course, use other white fish here, smoked or even not-so-smoked.
- 2 good-sized brunch portions