Smoked Haddock, Saffron Mussels and Mashed Potato

Posted By Stephen


Last night on Masterchef, the “invention test” involved creating a plate of food from ingredients which included smoked haddock, potatoes and leeks. As usual, some of the contestants did a good job and had an opportunity to change their life and some didn’t. And as usual we started thinking of what we’d made with the same ingredients.

So this is what we came up with. We cheated of course, because there were no mussels in the ingredients that they had. Initially, we had planned for clams but couldn’t get any, so mussels it was. There ended up being loads of components to this and had we been doing it on Masterchef I’m sure we would have run out of time. There was also a lot of washing up. The various components were:

Poached haddock. Simply poached the haddock in half milk, half water, with a bay leaf, a shallot and a few peppercorns. Simple but tasty, especially when eaten with the mash and the sauce from the mussels.

Mashed potato with leeks. We chopped up the leeks fairly finely, then softened them in some olive oil, then sweated them for about ten minutes. We steamed some potatoes, let them dry out, them mashed them with some cream and salt and pepper before stirring in the leeks. It’s been quite a while since we have had cream in our mashed potatoes and it was delicious.

Mussels with Saffron Cream Sauce. This had a bit more of a recipe to it and I hope I can remember how we did it. This turned out very well, especially for something essentially made up on the spot. It went something like this, I think:

3 medium shallots, finely chopped
1 glove of garlic, finely sliced
60 ml white vermouth (or dry white wine or dry sherry)
100ml single cream
small pinch saffron
salt and pepper
squeeze of lemon juice
1tbsp chopped parsely
olive oil for frying
6 large mussels or more small ones, or however many you like really

First discard any mussels that are already open and don’t close when tapped. If they have “beards” on them, pull these off and if they are muddy or dirty then give them a scrub.

Heat the olive oil in a saucepan (one that has a lid as we’ll need that later) over a medium heat and soften the chopped shallots and the garlic in it. We don’t want the shallots and garlic to brown or even go particularly golden, just to soften a bit; so if they start to colour then turn down the heat. After a few minutes, add the vermouth (or wine or sherry) and let it come to the boil for a minute or so.

Turn down the heat and add salt and pepper to taste and the small pinch of saffron. Be careful of adding too much saffron; I often do and it can be very strong. Then just a squeeze of lemon juice, stir, and add the mussels. At this point I added a dash of water too because the sauce was too thick, but you may not need to. Put the lid on and let the mussels steam for a few minutes until done, shaking the saucepan from time to time. They are done when they open and throw away any that refuse to open. Add some chopped parsley and give another shake to mix it in.

Then arrange the mash, haddock and mussels on the plate however you like, spoon over some of the sauce and enjoy!

Jan 7th, 2009

One Comment to 'Smoked Haddock, Saffron Mussels and Mashed Potato'

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  1. Caroline said,

    Looks delicious – and considerably better than some of the contestants’ efforts with the same ingredients, as well!!

    I was very happy with last night’s Masterchef result, though – as I thought Dennice’s final menu was far better than either of the other two. Wish I had taste-o-vision, rather than television, though!!

    Caroline’s last blog post..Goodbye Grampy Graham

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