This dish was one of my very regular standbys when I was a student: cheap, filling, nourishing. I always followed Delia Smith’s recipe, published in the Evening Standard in the mid-70s. I haven’t made it for years, mainly due to the impossibility of finding Finnan haddock in France. I got it once in Grand Frais a few years ago, but now they only seem to have French-produced bright yellow smoked haddock (a Brexit effect?). Still I decided to try it, and it’s a lot better than it looks. It doesn’t stain everything else bright yellow, and the actual flesh is white, albeit a tad over-salted.

So here’s the recipe. You can use other hot-smoked fish: kippers for example, or Arbroath smokies.

This quantity will make three large or four smaller helpings. You can vary the quantities and proportions according to taste and availability.

About 400 g of smoked haddock fillet
1 small onion, chopped
40 g butter
100 g mushrooms, sliced
100 g frozen peas
125 ml (a medium glass) of rice, preferably Basmati
1 tsp lemon juice
1/2 – 1 tsp curry powder (or more to taste)
3 eggs
salt and pepper
butter to serve

Hard-boil the eggs and set aside. Put the fish in a bowl and pour over boiling water to cover. Leave to stand for 5-10 minutes and then remove the fish, discard the skin, flake the flesh removing any bones, and reserve the water.

Meanwhile, melt half the butter in a large saucepan and gently fry the chopped onion for a few minutes. Then stir in the rice and curry powder and cook for a few minutes to coat the rice with butter. Now use the glass you measured the rice in to pour in two glasses of the soaking water, turn down the heat, cover, and cook for 12 minutes or until all the liquid is absorbed and the rice is cooked. Add the frozen peas to the pan after about five minutes.

In a small frying pan, melt the rest of the butter and quickly fry the sliced mushrooms. Squeeze over a dash of lemon juice and season with black pepper.

When the rice is done, add the mushrooms and flaked fish to it and gently stir in. Check the seasoning — you might not need any salt. Chop one of the eggs and stir in. Melt in a knob of butter. Serve with the remaining eggs chopped and scattered over.

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