Breakfast - Smoked Haddock Hash with Poached Eggs

This brunch-worthy dish was inspired by the wonderful natural smoked haddock that has now become so widely available. It would also make a delicious light supper that will satisfy the most discerning guests.

  • 1 tbsp white wine vinegar
  • 4 large eggs (preferably free-range)
  • 300ml (½ pint) milk
  • 1 onion, finely sliced
  • 1 bay leaf
  • 4 x 100g (4oz) natural smoked haddock fillets, pin-boned
  • 1 tsp prepared English mustard
  • squeeze of lemon juice
  • 2 tsp cornflour mixed with 1 tsp water
  • 1 tbsp snipped fresh chives
  • 75g (3oz) watercress sprigs

HASH POTATOES:

  • 450g (1lb) starchy potatoes (such as Russets), peeled and grated
  • 25g (1oz) butter, melted
  • 1 tbsp chopped fresh flat-leaf parsley
  • about 1 tsp olive oil spray
  • sea salt and freshly ground black pepper

SERVES 4

Method

Place a large pan of water on a high heat. Add the vinegar and a pinch of salt. Bring to a rapid boil, then reduce the heat to a simmer, whisk the water and crack in two of the eggs. Cook for 3 minutes, until the eggs are just poached and holding their shape. Remove with a slotted spoon and put straight into a bowl of iced water. Repeat with the remaining two eggs. These eggs will keep happily in the fridge for up to two days. Meanwhile, pour the milk into a large frying pan and add the sliced onion and bay leaf. Bring to a simmer over a medium heat, then carefully place the haddock into the milk, skin side down. Simmer for 2 minutes, then turn over and simmer for another 2 minutes, until the smoked haddock is just cooked through and tender. Lift the haddock out of the milk. Carefully remove and discard the skin and keep the haddock warm. Strain the poaching milk through a sieve into a small clean pan to remove the onion and bay leaf. Put over a medium heat and whisk in the mustard and lemon juice and the cornflour mixture. Bring to the boil to thicken, whisking continuously. Season to taste, remove from the heat and keep warm, whisking in the chopped chives at the last minute. Place the grated potatoes, melted butter, parsley and seasoning in a bowl and mix well. Heat a large non-stick frying pan over a medium to low heat and spray the base with olive oil. Place large spoonfuls of the mixture into the pan, flatten with a fish slice and cook for 5–6 minutes on each side, until crisp and golden brown. You will need 12 in total, allowing three per serving. Spray the pan with olive oil for each batch.


Pancetta Baked Eggs

If you're trying to avoid bread, this recipe makes a lovely breakfast served with steamed asparagus. Pancetta is just Italian streaky bacon, which is naturally drier than the bacon we’re used to and therefore is much easier to slice very thinly, making it a perfect option for this dish.

  • olive oil, for spraying
  • 4 semi-sun-dried tomatoes, diced
  • 4 fresh basil leaves, torn
  • 4 large eggs (preferably free-range)
  • 2 thin slices of pancetta, cut in half
  • 4 tbsp crème fraîche
  • 2 tbsp freshly grated Parmesan
  • sea salt and freshly ground black pepper
  • snipped fresh chives, to garnish
  • steamed asparagus, to serve

SERVES 4

Method

Preheat the oven to 190°C (375°F/gas mark 5). Spray 4 x 200ml (7fl oz) baking dishes with olive oil.

Sprinkle the sun-dried tomatoes and basil into the bottom of each one, then crack in an egg and add a slice of pancetta. Add a spoonful of crème fraîche and scatter the Parmesan on top. Season with salt and pepper. Arrange the baking dishes in a shallow roasting tin and pour in enough boiling water to come halfway up the side of each dish. Carefully place in the oven and bake for 15 minutes, until the eggs are set and the cheese is bubbling. Set each dish onto a plate and garnish with the chives.

Serve with a separate plate of steamed asparagus.