In our family, anything that’s dried and smoked is king. We often buy smoked sausages, smoked salmon, smoked clams, jars of smoked peppers and cans and cans of smoked paprika from the Italian store. Impulsively buying smoked haddock then, wasn’t strange for us at all until we realized we didn’t know what to do with it and just left it in deep dark corner of our fridge to wait patiently until one of us came up with a recipe. Yesterday it hit me. Why not pair the haddock with porcini mushrooms and make a ragù? Throw in a lot of garlic, some dill, some olive paste, some sweet paprika and see what happens. Well, friends, what happened was glorious. One of those kitchen experiments that didn’t end in disaster but rather in a stroke of genius. I had no idea that mushrooms and fish could go so well together! The sauce is healthy, low-fat, easy to make and really quite impressive. whats-more, the varying components are incredibly balanced. In foodie lingo, the result would be called “umami”. In Maja lingo – delicious enough to lick the pan clean.
2 smoked haddock filets (I got mine from a German market, you could also use smoked salmon)
1 large sweet onion
2 tbsp clarified butter (butter with the milk solids removed)
1 tbsp oil
1 tbsp thyme
1 1/2 cup canned or dried and reconstituted porcini (or any kind, really) mushrooms, sliced thinly
1 tbsp olive paste (or about 10 thinly sliced black olives)
1 anchovy, sliced very thinly
1 tbsp honey
1 tsp sweet paprika
salt&pepper to taste
2 cups mushroom or vegetable broth
1 1/2 tbsp cornstarch mixed with 2 tbsp cold water
4 cloves of garlic, pushed through a garlic press
1/2 tsp nutmeg
1 box dried pasta (I used Barilla whole wheat fusilli)
freshly chopped parsley, dill & Parmesan shavings to garnish
- Heat a pan on medium with the tbsp of oil until the oil starts sizzling. Add in the butter, onions and thyme and cook until onions are soft and glossy.
- Add mushrooms to pan and stirfry for about five minutes or until mushrooms are cooked through. Add in the olive paste, the anchovy, the honey and the sweet paprika and stir to combine. Add in the broth and salt & pepper to taste.
- In a small bowl, mix the cornstarch with the cold water, the nutmeg and the pressed garlic and add to pan. Simmer the mixture, turning up the heat if necessary until mushroom sauce is thick. Lower to medium-low and cook for about ten minutes, adding water if sauce gets too thick.
- While sauce cooks, boil the pasta according to the instructions on the box, salting and oiling the water so that the pasta doesn’t stick. When cooked, drain and add as much pasta as needed to sauce. Chop up haddock and warm through in sauce.
- Plate the dish in large bowls and top with chopped dill, parsley and shavings of either pecorino romano or Parmesan. Serve with crusty bread and a large salad.