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People say certain smells transport you to where you first experienced them, which is why whenever I cook haddock I think of my Dad poaching it in milk when I was little and stinking the house out for 48 hours. As one of his signature dishes Herbert Berger introduced me to this risotto at Inn Holders Hall and once I manage to clear the mental image of my father hopping around the Aga in white briefs (so his clothes wouldn’t smell), there’s no getting away from the fact it’s absolutely delicious.

serves 4

1 onion, finely chopped
1 carrot
1 tomato
Dill
1 lemon

Olive oil
100g butter
100g parmesan

250g risotto rice
4 quails eggs
1 fillet of smoked haddock
Coleman’s English mustard,  around 1 tsp
200ml double cream

Preparing the fish

  • Begin by removing the skin from the fish and keeping it for the sauce. Cut 4 slices of around 3cm wide from the fillet and keep refrigerated.
  • Using the remaining pieces cut into small cubes and any waste put with the skin for stock.

For the sauce

  • Into a small pan place the skin and trimmings from the fish. Add a carrot, half an onion and the stalks from the dill, keeping the leaves for decoration. Cover with 200mls of white wine and boil for 5 minutes.
  • Pass the stock into another pan and add the cream. Reduce slightly to thicken and then whisk in the mustard to taste.
  • To finish squeeze in the juice of half a lemon, but only just before serving.

For the quail eggs

  • Drop into boiling water for 2.10 minutes. Remove immediately and cool in ice water. Peel the shells and re-heat gently before serving.

For the rice

  • Finely cut half an onion and gently sweat it in olive oil over a hob. When soft add two crushed garlic cloves and season with salt and pepper.
  • Add the rice and stir gently so that each grain is coated in the oil.
  • Turn up the heat and pour in approx 250ml of white wine. Allow the alcohol to evaporate and then turn down the heat.
  • Add cold water to cover the grains and continue to add water little by little until the rice is cooked. (Make sure that there is always enough water so that the grains can move freely without rubbing each other, which will make the rice mushy)
  • Towards the end of cooking stir in the parmesan and butter. Add the cubes of smoked haddock, which will cook within the rice and season.

To serve

  • Bring the sauce to the boil and add the lemon juice.
  • Warm the risotto making sure it is loose in consistency, adding more butter or water to let it down if it’s too thick.
  • Bring the quail eggs up to temperature in cool water and warming gradually.
  • Steam the haddock in a pan for around 4 minutes until cooked.
  • Serve in a warm bowl, placing the rice in first and pouring over the sauce.
  • Finally arrange the haddock, egg, tomato slices and dill on top and its ready.
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