When I was at primary school (pre- Low-FODMAP!) I remember having to paint a picture of our favourite on a sugar paper plate. Being a greedy little blighter, my plate had beef pie, spaghetti bolognaise, peas and a pile of yellow fish with yellow sauce. My mum would poach the fish in milk and make a sauce with egg yolks as a sort of savoury custard. So much yellowy-love. In the eighties it was very difficult to get anything other than the dyed smoked-haddock or cod but it’s now easier to find the un-dyed variety. Yes, natural colour is better for us, but can I say I sort of miss the unnatural explosion of colour?
After many years of failure to grow oregano in a pot, I shoved a twig in the ground and now it’s rampaging across the flowerbed. Most of our meals now contain least a tablespoon of fresh oregano in an effort to control the growth, but you can use fresh thyme if that’s what you have.
450g boneless smoked haddock
2 bay leaves
1 tsp. black peppercorns
500ml boiling water
1 tbsp. garlic oil
40g butter or dairy-free spread
1 large green pepper, in 1cm dice
900g floury potatoes, peeled and in 1.5cm dice
500ml almond milk
1 tbsp. chopped fresh oregano or thyme
Small handful of curly parsley leaves, chopped
Freshly ground black pepper.
In a wide, deep, lidded pan, cover the fish, bay leaves and peppercorns with boiling water. Simmer covered for 5 minutes then remove from the heat to cool slightly.
Using a sharp, heavy knife, cut the kernels from the corncob. Remove the fish from the pan using a slotted spoon. Allow to cool on a plate. Strain the remaining liquid into a measuring jug. Top up the liquid with water to make 500ml. Clean the pan.
Warm the oils and butter in the pan, and then add the pepper and sweetcorn kernels. Cover and allow to soften over a medium high heat, stirring occasionally, for 10 minutes. Add the potato and cook for a further 5 minutes, stirring to prevent sticking. Pour the fishy water over the vegetables and stir in the thyme. Cover and allow to cook for around 10 minutes, until the potatoes are tender.
While the potatoes are cooking, remove any skin or stray bones from the fish and flake with your fingers. When the potatoes are cooked remove from the heat and use a measuring jug to remove 500ml of the vegetables and liquid. Add the almond milk and using a potato masher, mash everything in the pan until there are no lumps of potato left.
Stir the reserved 500ml of 'lumps and liquid' back into the pan with the fish. Bring up to a simmer, stirring occasionally. Taste for seasoning (you may not need any if your fish was salty) and serve in warm bowls with the parsley and black pepper scattered over the top.