A versatile dish, perfect for a quick midweek supper, feeding a crowd, as a moreish hangover cure or weekend brunch. Fresh salmon or haddock can replace the smoked fish, if you prefer.
long-grain brown rice 450g
bay leaves 2
cardamom pods 2, split
undyed smoked haddock 650g, from a sustainable source, pin-boned
leeks 3 medium, trimmed and sliced thinly
garlic 2 cloves, finely chopped
good olive oil 1 tbsp
curry powder 1 tsp
dried chilli flakes a pinch
baby spinach 100g, washed, stalks removed
creme fraiche 250ml
flat-leaf parsley 3 tbsp, roughly chopped, plus extra to serve
coriander 2 tbsp, roughly chopped, plus extra to serve
lemon juice of 1
eggs 3, just hard-boiled
piment d’espelette to serve (Basque-style mild red pepper)
Cook the rice in a pan of boiling water (according to packet instructions), drain and refresh under cold water.
In a saucepan big enough to fit the fish, heat the milk with the bay leaves and cardamom pods. Bring to a simmer, then turn off the heat. Add the fish to the pan and gently poach it in the milk for 10 minutes, with the lid on. Use a slotted spoon to remove the fish to a plate, and remove and discard any skin or bones. Set both the fish and milk aside.
Place the leek and garlic in a large frying pan on a medium heat, with the butter and olive oil, and gently cook for 10-15 minutes. Never rush anything from the allium family.
Stir in the curry powder, a pinch of chilli flakes and gently cook out the spices. Gently fold in the rice so it stays light and fluffy, stir in the warm milk and bring back to a simmer. Then stir in the spinach leaves and cook for 3-5 minutes, until just wilting. Stir in the creme fraiche. Season with sea salt and black pepper, and stir in the chopped herbs and lemon juice.
Fork in the poached fish. Taste and consider for seasoning. Halve the eggs lengthways and arrange on top with extra herbs and a sprinkling of piment d’espelette to add a little kick.
Place in warm serving bowls, although I love nothing more than serving this from the pan, placed in the middle of the table, for everyone to share.
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