This is one of the recipes I learned at Ashburton, slightly tweaked to make a more substantial lunch (and without the use of an oven or grill. Mine is on the blink). It might look and sound like a lot of work for lunch, but if you are judicious in your use of pans and not averse to a bit of microwaving, what appears to be a horrible faff of a juggling act is just an exercise in timing. If the greens (as well as the potatoes) are leftovers, it becomes even easier. As much as I love feeling indulgent eating stuff like this for lunch, I have my limits: I very much doubt I wouldn’t ever cook potatoes specially for this, and replace that layer of carb with toast or a muffin, or even a little bed of leftover rice.
Smoked haddock with gruyere and chard
This is an assembly job and a matter of doing a few things at once, but nothing too strenuous. IT is only lunchtime after all. If your greens are already cooked, you’ve got even less to do. Hurrah!
Small handful leftover boiled new potatoes, sliced into cm thick rounds
Large handful of spinach, chard or other greens, washed, drained and roughly chopped
100g piece of smoked haddock
30g (or about 4-5 skinny slices) gruyere or other melty cheese that you like. Comte would be good I think
A little milk
1. First, put the slices of cheese into a little dish or lipped sideplate and pour over enough milk to cover te slices. Set that to one side.
2. Cook your haddock. Normally, I’d grill it, but being without grill, I microwaved it (covered with clingfilm and with a splash of water on the plate) for 2 minutes, then fried it alongside the potatoes. So if you’re doing things my way, heat a little oil in a frying pan and add your potatoes. Microwave the haddock, then add that to the pan really to crisp up a little bit and look slightly less anaemic and wet.
[By the by, I’m going through a bit of a rapeseed oil phase. It’s a rich sunny yellow and a mild grassy flavour and seems to be good for almost everything. Probably a bit expensive to fill a fryer with, but other than that, an excellent store cupboard addition. I used rapeseed here.]
3. While the haddock is frying gently, get the greens wilting in the microwave too. Same idea: little bit of water and clingfilm, so they steam quickly.
4. While the greens are cooking, get a pan of water on for your egg. I poached mine, but I often chicken out (sorry) as my poached eggs are seriously hit and miss. A soft boiled egg would also be lovely.
5. Give the greens a stir through after a minute or so, keeping an eye on your egg water.
6. Get your grill on or locate your blowtorch. Yes, blowtorch. My grill is out of action along with the sparky oven, and I might love teh microwave for many things, but I wasn’t about to nuke the whole dish just to melt the cheese, so I got my blowtorch out, okay?
7. Cook your egg. Put a timer on for the right time (I’d go 3 and half boiled, 4 poached) so you don;t forget and either end up with a hard egg (is there a greater crime?) or forget to eat it altogether, as I almost did, hence the eggless photo above.
8. Start plating up while your egg cooks: a layer of potato, then squeezed out greens, then haddock. Drain the milk off the gruyere (if you happen to be making haddock soup with the rest of your haddock, stick the cheesy milk in that pan!) and lay the slice across the haddock. Soaking the cheese makes it go lovely and soft and even more melty.
9. Grill – or blowtorch – your cheese into melty submission.
10. Remember your egg and place that artistically atop your haddock tower.