In an earlier blog I wrote about my mother’s recipe file and the treasures in it – Beetroot Soup (Armenian), Biscuit Tortoni (frozen), Bent Biscuits, Blackberry Granita, Bloody Mary which includes a couple of dashes of Angostura bitters., fennel a la Greque and hard-boiled eggs in soubise sauce, panoche stew that begins in uncompromising style ‘Mutton cutlets, cut in small pieces’, kidneys Turbigo; pirozhki and tongue with almond and raisin sauce among them.
It’s one thing admiring recipes in the abstract. It’s another thing cooking from them. But I had a bit of left over haddock the other evening, and was looking for an easy-going snack for supper, when I remembered seeing a recipe for Haddock Scramble among my mother’s recipes. I took a look at it: haddock, butter, eggs, cream, chopped parsley – it looked suspiciously like a poor man’s version of the classic omelette Arnold Bennett. Only the grated Parmesan was missing (On further researches, I’m not sure, but I rather think the original omelette was made with milk and flour, not cream; and certainly did not contain chopped parsley). And then I noticed the grated lemon peel. I don’t suppose Arnold would have approved of that. On the other hand it would introduce a different emphasis into the basic combination. I tried it and it was wonderful, the perfect Sunday evening, any evening, snack, rich, smokey, creamy, with that subtle, allusive whiff of citrus.
I must confess to playing a bit fast and loose with some of the detailing of my mother’s recipe. I used crème fraiche instead of cream, because I thought the hint of acidity would work better in the voluptuous creaminess of the whole. And I added chopped wild garlic in stead of parsley because I had some of the former and none of the latter. In retrospect, I think the grassy freshness of parsley would work better.
1 small cooked Finnan haddock (or any undyed haddock)
Grated rind ½ lemon
1 tbsp chopped wild garlic (or parsley)
1 tbs crème fraiche (or cream)
Flake haddock (says my mother). Melt butter. Add haddock slowly until hot. Break eggs into a bowl and beat lightly. Add pepper, lemon rind and chopped wild garlic or parsley. Add to haddock and cook over a low flame until scrambled to your liking. Add crème fraiche or cream towards the end.