Abroath Smokie Salad with Toasted Pinhead Oatmeal and a Creamy Dressing
Arbroath Smokie Salad, with a Creamy Dressing and Toasted Oats. Toasted pinhead oatmeal adds a delicious crunch to this salad. This recipe has been adapted from a dish served at Cafe St Honore, in Edinburgh. Despite this restaurants French name, and design, it uses all the best ingredients Scotland has to offer. The combination of smoked haddock and the toasted pinhead oatmeal is inspired. What a beautiful and simple way to show off these most Scottish of ingredients.
The combination of oatmeal and fish in Scotland is a very old one – the most famous example is herring coated and fried in oatmeal, which is utterly delicious. There are other old recipes for dumplings being made with oatmeal and haddock liver. Haddock liver sounds abysmal, but is in fact delicious. The dutch still eat it. Crappit heids is another example of this combination; an old favourite, these were heads of haddock stuffed with a forcemeat made with oatmeal .
You will note there is a little mustard powder in the dressing. It too is traditionally paired with fish in Scotland. F. M. McNeill notes, in the The Scot’s Kitchen, that in Morayshire people would serve salt fish with homemade mustard, made from the fresh seeds gathered from their cottage gardens.
This will generously serve two for lunch.
1 Arbroath smokie
1 head of little gem lettuce
1 bunch watercress
1 tbsp pinhead oatmeal*
150ml double cream
1/4 tsp English mustard powder
1/4 tsp fine sea salt
juice of half a lemon
small bunch of chives, finely sliced
- First poach the haddock briefly – this helps to remove the skin. Pour boiling water over the fish, leave for 3 – 5 minutes and remove to cool on a plate. Make sure the dish is big enough so the fish will be completely submerged, so it poaches evenly.
- Wash the lettuce and watercress.
- Toast the oatmeal in a heavy based frying pan over a medium high heat. Keep rolling and moving the oats constantly so they toast evenly. This should take 3 – 5 minutes. You know they are ready when they turn golden brown and they have that wonderful toasted smell – not that faraway from popcorn. Turn out on to a plate to cool down.
- In a bowl mix the cream, mustard powder, salt, lemon juice and chives. Make sure there are no lumps of mustard powder. The dressing will become thick on account of the whisking and the lemon juice. Thin this with cold water to return it to the consistency of double cream. The dressing should be quite thick but not so thick that it is claggy. Check for seasoning.
- Assembling the salad. Last minute mix the oatmeal into the dressing, leaving some behind for a garnish. Toss the leaves with the dressing. I like to serve it on a large plate with the haddock piled on top and the rest of the oatmeal sprinkled over.
*I use Aberfeldy Oatmeal