Classic comfort food: smoked haddock au gratin

Now that the nights are definitely chillier but the days still sunny and warm, my cooking these last few weeks has been nudging towards light  but warm comfort food.

Smoked haddock and cream are natural bed fellows and the crusted brown bits around the outside of the gratin dish are one of life’s small pleasures.

Please do buy undyed, line-caught fish, from a sustainable source.

The haddock is an excellent low-fat source of protein and iodine, a trace mineral needed for healthy functioning of the thyroid gland and the production of thyroid hormones. The spinach provides a useful amount of antioxidants, including vitamins C and E.

 Nutritional analysis







Of which saturates



hydrate (g)

Of which  sugars (g) Fibre
























Serves 2

This is what you need:

350g undyed smoked haddock

225g spinach, washed and woody stalks removed

4 tbsp half fat creme fraiche

pinch of cayenne pepper

couple of gratings of fresh nutmeg

2 tsp Dijon mustard

1 tbsp lemon juice

4 tbsp freshly grated Parmesan

4 tbsp breadcrumbs

black pepper

butter to grease the gratin dish

This is what you do:

  1. pre-heat the oven to 190C/gas mark 5
  2. remove the skin from the haddock; make a small cut at the tail end so that you can grip the skin
  3. and then just pull the skin off in one movement!
  4. check the fillet for small bones – which, if left behind, can really spoil the eating quality and pleasure of this dish
  5. butter an ovenproof gratin dish
  6. quickly wilt the spinach in a large pan over high heat with a drop of water and the lid clamped on
  7. drain in a colander, squeezing it with your hands to get the water out
  8. drape the spinach over the bottom of the gratin dish
  9. place the fish on top
  10. whisk the cream, spices, mustard, lemon and grated Parmesan
  11. pour evenly over the fish
  12. scatter with the breadcrumbs, season with pepper and dot with a few scrapes of butter
  13. bake for 20-25 mins of until the fish is cooked through and the crumbs are nicely golden; the cream will be bubbling and starting to catch the edges of the gratin dish
  14. serve with some boiled potatoes or a simple green salad

I am feeling cosy just writing this …




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