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Smoked Haddock And Spinach Mornay

10/03/2017 14:10 GMT | Updated 10/03/2017 14:11 GMT

This is quite a retro dish but it's so good I think it's due a renaissance. Flaky, juicy fish, combined with spinach and the fresh pop of tomatoes, blanketed in a smoky, cheesy sauce, topped off with a crisp thatch of breadcrumbs. Heavenly. Yes, rather an over-use of adjectives there, but I think they're justified.

Please don't skip the tomatoes, their slight acidity cuts the richness of the dish. New potatoes and a spoonful of garden peas or French beans are all you need on the side.

Smoked Haddock and Spinach Mornay (serves 2)

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Ingredients:

300g undyed smoked haddock, the thick end of the fillet

300 ml milk

2 bay leaves

Bundle of parsley stalks tied with a thread

8 black peppercorns

300g spinach

2 or 3 tomatoes, skinned, de-seeded and diced

25g butter

25g plain flour

50g Cheddar cheese, grated

Nutmeg, a few rasps

1 tbspn grated Parmesan

1 heaped tbspn breadcrumbs

Method:

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Rinse the spinach, shake dry, remove any big ribs and wilt in a pan. Drain, squeeze dry and chop. Set aside.

Cut the haddock into two even portions and put in a deep frying pan with the milk, parsley, bay leaves and peppercorns.

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Put on a lid, bring to a boil and remove from the heat. Leave to one side for 10 minutes with the lid still on, then remove and carefully peel off the skin. Put the fillets on a plate, covered with foil, somewhere warm. Strain the liquid into a bowl.

Melt the butter in a pan, stir in the flour and cook off for a minute on a low to medium heat. Gradually stir in the strained milk to make a thick sauce. Add the Cheddar and cook, stirring, until blended and glossy. Grate in a few rasps of nutmeg, then add black pepper and salt to taste, remembering the fish is quite salty.

Pre-heat the grill and butter a gratin dish. Re-heat the spinach in a pan then put a layer in the bottom of the gratin dish, topped with the smoked haddock. Scatter with the diced tomato.

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Pour over the sauce, sprinkle with the Parmesan and breadcrumbs and grill until golden brown. Eat straight away. You can thank me later.

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