Garry Watson, chef owner of Gordon’s Restaurant with Rooms in Inverkeillor is celebrating the excellent local produce on his doorstep this week.
An Arbroath smokie is a hot-smoked haddock. The smoking process cooks and smokes the fish at the same time.
Over the years the process has never changed, the haddock comes straight from the boats and sold at market, its head is removed then cleaned, tied at the tail with string then salted for several hours. It’s then washed off and the pairs are hung on sticks to dry.
Then it is set over a fire made from hard wood, mixes of oak and beach to ash or sycamore are commonly used, the fish is placed over the fire then covered in hessian sacks, the flames die down creating steam and a very moist atmosphere cooking the fish to form a smokie.
It’s such a unique delicate flavour transforming the humble haddie into something spectacular.
After years of hard work from the late Mr Bob Spink the smokie was given protected
geographical indication status under the EU scheme to protect food names.
Putting smokies on the map
Nothing can be called an Arbroath smokie unless it’s a haddock, smoked traditionally and made within an 8km radius of Arbroath. Thus putting the smokie in the class of the likes of Parma ham or champagne.
Smokies originated in a small village three miles north of Arbroath called Auchmithie.
There is a myth that a store caught fire one night destroying barrels of haddock preserved in salt, the following morning the haddock was cooked.
More likely the Vikings came over and showed the villagers their smoking methods which are still employed in Scandinavia.
Towards the end of the 19th Century the Arbroath fishing industry began to die out and the town council offered fisherfolk of Auchmithie increased use of the harbour.
As a result, much of Auchmithie’s population relocated to Arbroath bringing their smoking process with them. The Arbroath smokie was then named.
Curried cauliflower and Arbroath smokie velouté
- 1 Arbroath smokie
For the velouté:
- 1 small onion, chopped
- 1 small cauliflower, chopped
- 50g butter
- 1 tbsp curry powder
- 1 potato, peeled and finely sliced
- 1000ml milk
- Pinch of salt
- Squeeze of lemon
- Sprinkling of flaked smokie pieces
- 1 tsp creme fraiche
- Drizzle rapeseed oil
- Handful chives, finely chopped
- Wrap one Arbroath smokie in foil and warm through on a tray in the oven at 160C Fan/180C/350F/Gas Mark 4 for 10 minutes.
- To open and flake the smokie into pieces, press down on centre bone and remove the bone then carefully remove all flesh and place in bowl checking it’s free from skin and bones. Set aside.
- For the velouté, place the finely chopped onion and cauliflower in a pot with the butter, allow to cook slowly with no colour for 5 minutes then add the curry powder and cook out for 30 seconds.
- Add potato along with the milk and bring to the boil. Simmer for 10 minutes or until cauliflower is soft.
- Blitz while still hot in a liquidiser until smooth (take care and only fill liquidiser half full and place a tea towel on top of lid).
- Pour in a clean pan and season with salt and a squeeze of lemon to taste, heat through then carefully add the flaked smokie pieces.
- To serve, spoon the soup into bowls, add a teaspoon of crème fraiche, a drizzle of rapeseed oil and some finely snipped chives.