Cooking With Metachat!

Wednesday, January 10, 2007

jack_mo's Cullen Skink

This is a slightly poncey version of Cullen Skink that I drunkenly
copied from a magazine article on the wall of the bar in the
marvellous Glasgow restaurant The Ubiquitous Chip - - years ago. It makes enough for four as a
starter, or two as a big hearty main course bowl.

1 lb of Finnan Haddies (ie. smoked and salted haddock, the white
stuff, not the horrid bright yellow dyed stuff)
About 3/4 of a pint of milk
About 3/4 of a pint of double cream
A couple of potatoes (Desirée, King Edward, etc. - enough to make
four good-sized spoonfuls of mash)
A knob of butter
2 tbsp. of vegetable oil
1 big onion, finely chopped
Some parsley, very finely chopped.

Take off the skin and remove the bones from the haddies, but don't
throw them away. Trim the edges and tail off the fish, so you've just
got the thick, meaty bit left, and put the trimmings with the skin
and bones.

Cut the main bit of the fish into rough cubes - about a 1/4" thick,
but there's no need to be fussy about it - until you've got, er,
enough of it - about enough to fill a pint glass, loose - chuck any
spare fish in with the skin, bones and trimmings.

Scald (ie. bring it just to the boil for a second) the milk and most
of the cream in a pan then take it off the heat and dump in all the
bones and fishy trimmings and leave it sitting for half an hour or so
until it's cooled down. (You can add other things, too, if you like -
a bay leaf, a few peppercorns, a splosh of Worcestershire sauce.)

Heat up the oil and a bit of butter in a pot over a medium flame,
then chuck in the diced onion, then the cubes of haddock a bit later,
until the onion is soft and transparent, stirring gently from time to
time. Then turn down the heat a bit and pour the fishy-milk potion
through a fine seive into the pot (obviously you don't want any of
the bones and stuff ending up in the soup), and then simmer the soup
for a while - ten minutes tops - and season (probably just with
pepper, since the fish is pretty salty).

While you're doing the above, slice up the potato, boil it, and then
mash it with the knob of butter and the rest of the cream, so it's
ready at the same time as the soup. It should be a really silky
mashed potato, not rough.

When the soup is done, put it in some bowls, dump a nice dollop of
mashed potato in the middle, and sprinkle some of the scallion greens
over the top.


Variations: I've swapped some of the haddie for Arbroath smokie
before, and sometimes I cube some of the boiled potato and put it in
the soup as well as the mash, and you can whisk in the mash as a
thickener rather than leave it as a discrete dollop if you like.


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