Monday, October 19, 2009


The smoker has been smoking overtime lately, bluefish mainly, now we are excited when we catch one, we used to be mildly despondent.... "oh no, another bluefish", but the greedy fighting fish smokes perfectly, and I discovered it works very well in one of my all time favorite breakfast dishes; kedgeree. The dish apparently originated in Scotland when the Scottish troops took their hearty breakfast with them to India during the British Raj, there it was made more exotic with the help of some curry powder, it then became a wildly popular breakfast dish in the United Kingdom during the Vicorian era.
Back in the 70's at my secondary school in England the domestic science class was not one of my favorites, it was the science part, all that exact measuring, also there was too much icing involved, and the making of sponges, like the victoria sandwich....not a happy day for me in the classroom; a ghastly creation of untidy jam and cream oozing out of overcooked sponges. But I was very proud of my kedgeree and was very excited to show my fish loving not fond of sweets and puddings either parents, but I tripped on the stairs on my way to the school bus, much laughter from pubescent children as I attempted to gather my rice and fish from the stairs that were mopped daily with disinfectant, that unforgettable school perfume. I do have happier memories of kedgeree; holidays in Scotland, old fashioned cosy hotels.....big old sideboards groaning under the weight of porridge, scotch pancakes, crumpets, homemade thick cut marmalade, Arbroath smokies and kedgeree, (I feel a very Scottish post brewing). Finnan Haddie (smoked haddock), is traditionally used but my bluefish was just grand, and you can use smoked salmon, you can probably use just about any smoked fish.
I have many kedgeree recipes including one from The Cook's Scrapbook a delightfully old-fashioned cookbook that my mother gave me, it has recipes like pickled samphire, hedgerow pie, grilled mackerel with gooseberry sauce........eyes are watering, sniff, now these are the things that make me feel homesick, well to be honest, Inspector Lewis and Rosemary and Thyme and Christmas Carols can do it too. This book is out of print now, if you ever spot one in a thrift store, grab it, it will warm the cockles of your heart.
 I like this recipe, it's simple, and it represents all of my recipes combined, but I am always (the contrary cook) experimenting, sometimes adding tomatoes, celery, using brown rice or basmati, sometimes curry powder sometimes garam masala.
Not many folks here in the US have heard of kedgeree, unless you're an expat of course, although there are gastro-pubs cropping up all over New York, I suspect it's on some of their menus, which reminds me; must go to the Spotted Pig next trip, I hope they are still doing a pint of cockles. I used to sit on the quay during the summer months in my quaint river-side town, with my father and eat cockles, sometimes whelks (only the brave) out of a paper cone, lots of vinegar and pepper to season, now I am weeping.

No comments: