Kedgeree harks back to the days of the British Raj, starting as a dish of rice and lentils way back. But as with many dishes, much alteration has taken place over time. And now here is my very basic kedgeree, ideal for eating morning, noon, or night. It is very good by itself, but does go very well with Green Bean Chutney.
Natural smoked haddock is exactly what it is–smoked haddock. There are the yellow fillets of cured haddock, which have been dyed to give the impression of being smoked. The natural is obviously preferable.
Finally, a few spare moments to write! I do have a viable excuse though, last week my wife and I flew out to San Diego for a wedding. Our good friends Amanda and Chris had asked me to be one of the groomsmen, and I was more than happy to oblige. As a thank you, they gifted me with this:
Can you guess what it is? For those that picked “bone marrow spoon”, you are 100% correct. It was a very thoughtful gift, and I plan on buying a few more so people won’t have to share the next time roasted marrow is served. I’m also happy to report that the wedding went off without a hitch, and I wish the new couple as much happiness as I have in my marriage.
Right after landing in San Diego, we met up with Chris to get a bite to eat at his favorite restaurant, Point Loma Seafoods.
Loved by the locals, Point Loma Seafoods is awash with a wide array of some of the freshest fish and shellfish I’ve ever come across. They prepare some fantastic things, too.
This dragon roll was made with real crab. I’m used to seeing sushi made with fake krab, I just had to give it a shot. It was so good, I almost bought another one to have later that night. It would be nice if every sushi place used the real stuff, but I understand the economic reasons why they don’t.
My wife ordered the crab sandwich, which came STUFFED with lump crab. I managed to sneak a few bites while she was talking.
The calamari sandwich is Chris’s favorite, and it’s obvious why: thick slices of fresh, breaded squid slathered with lovely tarter sauce. He told me that he orders one every time he returns home to San Diego.
While we were eating, it dawned on me that it was a rare occurrence to be in the vicinity of such amazing seafood and that I should take advantage of it. Leafing through “The Cookbook” (I really do take it with me everywhere) two crab recipes caught my eye. Unfortunately the market was out of live crab, and they wouldn’t get any more in until the next day. Then I noticed that there were roughly 20 varieties of freshly smoked fish on hand. I could make kedgeree!
It turns out that among all of those perfectly smoked fish options, there was no haddock, but the man behind the counter suggested that smoked halibut would be a perfect substitute as it too is a white flaky fish. While I’m not a big fan of substituting ingredients, I really wanted to cook something. We picked out two hunks of smoked halibut, stopped at a Trader Joe’s to pick up the rest of the needed ingredients, and took everything back to Chris’s house. His parents were kind enough to let me hijack their kitchen for the evening, so I jumped right in action and set their oven to 425° F.
The halibut was placed in a pan along with multiple knobs of butter and a cup of water. Mr. Henderson mentions in the recipe that lots and lots of butter is a good thing for this recipe. Who am I to argue with the master? I was going to butter this recipe up, arteries be damned! The pan and its contents were placed in the hot oven for ten minutes.
While the halibut cooked, I started boiling four eggs. Mr. Henderson asks for free-range eggs, which thankfully Trader Joe’s had in spades. Usually I make do with regular eggs. Have I mentioned that I miss California sometimes?
In another pot I dumped two cups of long grain basmati rice, a pinch of salt and just enough water in and turned the heat up. I’ve gotten so used to cooking rice in a rice cooker I had my doubts that it would come out right. By then, the fish had finished cooking.
I yanked the fish out of the oven and set it aside to cool. When enough time had passed, I skinned the halibut and flaked the meat from the bones. The butter-water was set aside for use later.
Next I needed to gently fry two sliced red onions in butter. The recipe calls for the onions to be soft and sweet, so the heat was turned down low to ensure that they didn’t brown. At this point I had almost worked my way through a whole cup of butter, and yet I knew it wasn’t enough. More butter!
After a little searching I found a pan that I hoped would be big enough to hold all of the ingredients and set it on stove. The onions, the flaked halibut and the rice were added and combined until everything was evenly dispersed. The butter-water that the halibut was cooked with was poured on top (more butter!!) along with even more butter to completely moisten the mixture.
Once everything was properly heated through I added the juice of one lemon, the hard boiled eggs that were roughly chopped, a heaping handful of chopped parsley and lots of salt and pepper. The dish was complete!
Chris’s father, who is a man of aesthetics, presented me with purple hued plates to serve the kedgeree on that worked perfectly with the color of the fried onions. Thank you very much sir, if you’re reading this.
The first bite confirmed what I already knew: This is a very simple, but hardy recipe that in small amounts could work as a light snack, or as fuel for a lumberjack if eaten in massive quantities. The smoked fish played well with the sweet onions and copious amounts of butter, and the boiled eggs and rice added a nice range of textures. Everyone seemed to enjoy the kedgeree as much as I did, which is personally my favorite part of cooking out of “The Cookbook”. There are no bad recipes!
One down, sixty six to go.