For many Americans, Finnan haddie might sound like an exotic ingredient. This type of fish is simply smoked haddock. It became popular in the coastal town of Findon, Scotland. Also known as Finnan, the catch was so well-known in the area that it soon took on the local name. This fish can be prepared to use in a range of dishes.
In Scotland and other parts of Europe, Finnan haddie is a breakfast staple. Served alongside oatmeal, pancakes, and toast, it provides a hearty breakfast that that fills you up without the high calories and cholesterol that comes with other traditional breakfast staples. The grilled and poached versions of this fish are much healthier than bacon and eggs.
Europeans rarely eat Finnan haddie for anything other than breakfast. It can be served alongside mashed potatoes or with a white sauce. The sauce version is more common in New England and other parts of the United States.
Eggs Benedict with Finnan Haddie Eggs Benedict
Ingredients for Hollandaise Sauce
- 4 large pasteurized egg yolks
- 2 tablespoons fresh lemon juice
- 1/4 teaspoon cayenne pepper
- 1 1/2 teaspoons kosher salt
- 1 cup unsalted butter
- 1 pound Finnan haddie
- 1 cup milk
- 2 1/2 cups water
- 3 bay leaves
- 2 slices onion
- 1/2 teaspoon fresh ground black pepper
- 1 tablespoon white wine vinegar
- 4 large eggs
- 2 English muffins cut in half
- Chives for garnish
- Prepare hollandaise sauce by combining the egg yolks, lemon juice, cayenne, and 1/2 teaspoon salt in a blender. Blend until frothy.
- In a small pan, heat the butter over medium until it begins to bubble.
- Add the hot butter to the blender and blend until mixture is thickened.
- Set aside sauce.
- In another saucepan, add the milk and 1/2 cup of water and bring to a boil.
- Add in the bay leaves, onions, black pepper and Finnan haddie.
- Simmer for 5 minutes.
- Remove the fish from the pan and place on a plate. Be sure to remove all skin from the fish.
- In a pan, bring water and vinegar to a boil.
- Break the eggs into the water and vinegar, one at time.
- Poach eggs for 3 minutes.
- Toast the English muffin halves and place on a plate.
- Remove the poached eggs and drain on a towel.
- Place one egg and some fish on each muffin half.
- Top with hollandaise sauce and garnish with a sprig of chive.
For a variation, instead of serving over English muffins, serve over asparagus spears.
Broiled Finnan Haddie
- 2 pounds Finnan haddie
- Hot water
- 2 tablespoons butter
- Fresh ground black pepper
- 1 lemon cut into wedges
- Fresh parsley for garnish
- Preheat broiler.
- Cut the Finnan haddie into small squares and remove skin.
- In a pot, cover the fish with hot water and let sit in the water for 20-30 minutes. Fish can also be soaked in water overnight.
- Drain the fish and wipe dry.
- Place fish squares on a greased broiler rack and spread each piece with butter and sprinkle generously with black pepper.
- Watch carefully and broil fish until golden brown. Turn fish once to get both sides browned.
- Remove from oven and place on a platter.
- Garnish with lemon wedges and fresh parsley sprigs.
Creamed Finnan Haddie
- 2 tablespoons corn oil
- 2 tablespoons cornstarch
- 1/3 teaspoon salt
- 1/4 teaspoon paprika
- Few drops onion juice
- 1 teaspoon minced parsley (optional)
- 1 pint milk
- Pour boiling water over the finnan haddie, let stand two or three minutes, drain and flake.
- Add the corn oil, cornstarch, and seasonings and gradually stir in the milk.
- When boiling, add the parsley or onion juice.
- Serve on toast, split tea biscuit, boiled rice, or with boiled or baked potatoes. Garnish with hard boiled eggs.
Creative Finnan Haddie Uses
In addition to broiling the fish or serving it creamed, there are several other dishes to consider that use this smoked fish. Finnan haddie can be added to soups, stews and chowders for a unique taste that blends well with a range of other ingredients.
Finnan Haddie and Lobster Chowder
- 3 pounds Finnan haddie with bone
- 2 tablespoons whole black peppercorns
- 2 sprigs thyme
- 4 sprigs parsley
- 1 small onion, left whole, skin removed
- 1/4 cup celery leaves
- 2 cups fish or vegetable stock
- 3 cups heavy cream
- 1/2 cup milk
- 1 pound of blanched lobster meat
- 1 medium onion, large dice
- 10 tablespoons butter
- 4 potatoes cut into small dices
- Salt and ground black pepper to taste
- Chopped parsley, for garnish
- Preheat oven to 350 degrees.
- In a pan, add the Finnan haddie and sprinkle with peppercorns.
- Add the thyme, parsley, whole onion, and celery leaves.
- Pour in the stock.
- To the mixture, add in 1 cup of the heavy cream and milk.
- Cover with a lid or foil and place in oven for 15 minutes.
- Remove from oven and allow to cool.
- Strain the stock and reserve for later use.
- Flake the fish, making sure that all bones and skin are removed.
- In a large saucepan, add the heavy cream, lobster meat, Finnan haddie, and the strained stock, and cook over medium heat.
- In a separate pan, sauté the diced onion and potatoes with 4 tablespoons of butter.
- Add the sautéed onion and potatoes to the saucepan mixture.
- Bring entire mixture to a low boil and add salt and pepper to taste.
- Lower heat and allow to simmer until all ingredients are heated through.
- Ladle soup into bowls and top with remaining pats of butter and parsley to garnish.
Serve this chowder with crackers or fresh bread and butter.
If you dislike the saltiness of the fish, there is an easy fix. Simply simmer it gently in water before cooking it and discard the water. Much of the salt will be pulled from the fish, leaving you with just the subtle haddock flavor.