strange_raptors: Samuel Whiskers from Beatrix Potter's "The Tale of Tom Kitten" (Samuel Whiskers cooking)
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Footnote and I picked up some reduced undyed smoked haddock from Tesco this morning (their Finest range from the fish counter). I would traditionally default to fish pie or kedgeree with such fish, but we agreed that it was too summery (in spite of rain) for the former and Footnote vetoed the latter unilaterally. A quick google for smoked haddock recipes led me to think that the fish would work very well in a risotto. 

In the event, I made up my own recipe, which took its inspiration from Nigel Slater's recipe and this BBC Food recipe by Curtis Stone.

Ingredients
- Undyed smoked haddock (we found the flavour of the Tesco Finest fish to be superb) - a fillet will be generous for two people
- A bay leaf
- A few rashers of smoked streaky bacon
- A big leek or two thin ones
- Risotto rice (I used carnaroli, I'm sure arborio would be fine too) - allow around 75 per person, use more if you want leftovers
- Glass of white wine (+ one for cook) [optional]
- Half a pot of creme fraiche (ours was opened and two months out of date, but still smelt fine. Will update this post if either of us gets ill overnight)
- A good few handfuls of spinach
- One egg per person
- A small drop of vinegar

Instructions


1) Take thee thy fish and place skin side down into a deepish frying pan. If thy fish dost not fit in thy chosen pan, cut it in half. Add a single bay leaf (or bailiff as some people would have it). Cover with boiling water and simmer for around 8-10 minutes. Note: Sometimes the fish misbehaves and floats. If this is the case, halfway through simmering flip it over so that the skin side is upwards. The fish is done when it flakes easily, though err on the side of under rather than over cooked. Remove the haddock to a plate and remove the bay leaf. DO NOT THROW AWAY THE WATER.

2) Finely chop your leeks. The easiest way to do this is to chop the dark green tops off, cut the remaining stem in half lengthways leaving it connected for the bottom 1cm or so. Then you can wash inside the leek, and chop easily. 

3) Finely chop your bacon.

4) Heat some of your favourite fat in a (preferably non-stick) saucepan. Having your saucepan be non-stick makes it much easier to wash up later, because dried rice is evil.


5) Gently fry the leeks and bacon in your favoured fat. They'll take 10-15 minutes. Make sure the leeks don't burn, as this makes them sad.

6) Whilst this is going on, you may like to transfer your haddock cooking water to a small saucepan to keep it hot. I couldn't be bothered to make more washing up.


6) Turn the heat up to high. Add your risotto rice to the leeks and bacon and stir so that the rice is coated in the bacony fat. 

7) Add the glass of wine. It should go whoosh. Stir vigorously until the wine is absorbed by the rice. Then add a ladleful of fish cooking water at a time, pausing to stir vigorously between additions and making sure that all the stock has been absorbed before adding the next ladleful. Test the rice regularly after 15 minutes -- you're looking for something with a tiny bit of bite left in it. It should be done in 20-25 minutes.
Note: This is the Simon Hopkinson method of risotto, which I think he got from Marcella Hazan. The key is to keep the heat high and stir vigorously, which releases the starch from the rice. I think his method produces the best risotto. 

8) Take the risotto off the heat and cover with a lid. Leave to sit for five minutes. 

9) Flake your haddock, discarding skin and bones.


9) Stir into the risotto the creme fraiche, then fold in the flaked fish and spinach. Re-cover with a lid and sit on a low heat. 

10) Poach your eggs. This is very easy and not at all something to be afraid of. I follow the truly brilliant recipe of Felicity Cloake, which has never failed.

11) Place a mound of risotto onto a plate and top with your perfectly poached egg. Enjoy, maybe with a smidge of black pepper.
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