Thursday, September 9, 2010

Smoked Haddock Flan

Hewitt says, in a New York Times kind of way, "Any good fish store can order smoked haddock." This may have been true in New York in the 70s, but the first couple of times I asked my fish store about it, I got blank looks. "We have smoked salmon," the man said. Last week when I was buying cod for the chowder, I wrote a note to the owners about it. On Saturday morning, as I
was juggling vegetables from the farmers' market, I found a message on my phone. The smoked haddock was in!
Then, as has been related, I fell off my horse. I actually tried to pick up the haddock on the way home from the stable, and got about fifty feet from the entrance before deciding I just couldn't walk the rest of the way. I sent my son to pick it up and was startled to find that two pounds of the stuff cost $37.
Having spent that much money, I wasn't going to let it go bad. I made the flan on Monday. This is not a recipe I would choose to make after suffering a collision with the ground, but if life gives you smoked haddock, make smoked haddock flan. It has several components, including a pastry shell, fish, filling, sauce and potato mixture, which needs a pastry bag.
Pastry, especially on hot days, has never been my strong point. But, this project is teaching me to follow the recipe and be exact. If it says ice water, use ice water. Even though I did not have wax paper I managed to roll out the dough and get it into the pie shell without tearing it or having it stick to the counter. My husband is better at this stuff than I am. He can do fluted crusts and little leaves. My crust is raggedly, but this time, it was edible.
I boiled the eggs ahead of time. I didn't mash the potatoes ahead of time, which would have been best. I also didn't have the energy to look in the cabinets over the stove for the pastry bag. So, my product did not look like the full color photo between pages 110 and 111. It probably tasted about the same though.

Smoked Haddock Flan

Pastry Shell:
1 cup flour
1/4 teaspoon salt
1/3 cup butter or shortening
1 egg yolk
ice water
1/2 pounds smoked haddock with bones (if salty soak thirty minutes in cold water)
1 cup milk approximately
2 tablespoons butter
1/2 cup finely chopped leeks
2 tablespoons chopped parsley
Freshly ground black pepper to taste
2 hard cooked eggs halved
2 tablespoons butter
2 tablespoons flour
salt and freshly ground black pepper to taste
Potato mixture
3 medium size baking potatoes, boiled peeled and riced or sieved
2 egg yolks
salt and freshly ground black pepper to taste
6 tablespoons finely grated Gruyere cheese

1. To prepare pastry, place the flour and slat in a bowl. With the finger tips or a pastry blender, blend in the butter or shortening until mixture resembels coarse oatmeal. With a fork stir in the egg yolk and enough ice water to make a dough.
2. Roll out the dough on alightly floured board or pastry cloth and use to line an eight-inch or nine-inch scalloped pie pan or pie plate. Chill well.
3. Preheat the oven to 425 degrees.
4. Line the chilled shell with aluminum foil and fill with dried beans or uncooked rice. Bake eight minutes, or until shell is set. Remove foil and beans or rice, and bake shell three to five minutes longer or until done and lightly browned.
5. Meanwhile, place the fish in a large skillet. Pour in milk until fish is three-quarters submerged.
6. Bring to a simmer, cover and simmer eight to ten minutes, or until the flish flakes easily. Remove the fish, strain the liquid and reserve one cup for the sauce. Remove the skin and bones from the fish and flake it. There should be about two cups. Reserve.
7. To prepare filling, melt the butter in a skillet and saute the leeks in it until tender but not browned. Stir in the reserved fish and the parsley, season with pepper and keep warm. Reserve the hard-cooked egg halves.
8. To prepare sauce, melt the butter in a small pan, blend in the flour and gradually stir in the reserved cup fish stock. (milk). Season with salt and pepper.
9. Bring to a boil, stirring until sauce thickens. Hold over hot water until needed.
10. To prepare potato mixture, place the hot riced or seived potatoes in a bowl and beat in the egg yolks, salt, pepper and four tablespoons of the cheese.
11. Place the filling in the bottom of the baked pie shell and embed the hard-cooked egg pieces in the filling in a pattern like spokes in a wheel. Pour the sauce over all.
12. Fit a pastry bag with a star tube. Pipe the potato mixture through the pastry bag around the flan and make a wheel pattern.
13 Sprinkle with the reaining cheese and brown unter the broiler.
Serves four.

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