In the days when most High Streets had a fishmongers, that familiar aroma, exclusive to them was led by the almost tarry tang of the Smoked Haddock. With its bright yellow coat it stood apart from the other predominantly white fish, vying for attention with the kippers. Times change; fishmongers are now a rarity, and smoked haddock can now be found without the yellow dye and is a much better product without it.
Although the art of traditional smoking has not changed, the demands of supermarkets have changed the ways in which it is produced, and like the frog in water being heated, for most consumers the smoked haddock that they see in store is a very poor imitation of the product that their parents enjoyed. To be able to meet the quantities needed by the large operations the fish is brought in frozen in pallets, thawed and smoked over wood dust. Phrases such as ‘lovingly smoked’ and ‘line-caught fish’ are not only fanciful they are actually misleading.
Fortunately here in Britain we are blessed with a few traditional smoke houses. Unable to meet the demands for quantity that the big boys are looking for, they concentrate on doing things the way they have always been done – properly. That means buying fresh fish at the ports as it is landed. It means traditional brining, and smaller quantities being smoked at one time to allow proper control. As any good smokehouse man will tell you, six hours is about right for haddock; much more and you could end up drying the fish out. If you read of fish being smoked for up to 14 hours alarm bells should start ringing.
The product of these smokehouses is available to the connoisseur often by visiting the smokehouse in person. At Super Chef we have sourced Smoked Haddock from one of the best traditional smokehouses on the east coast. Their Haddock is from the North Sea and landed at Lowestoft. Smoked over Oak chips without additives or dyes, it is a taste that the older generation have almost forgotten, and the younger ones never knew existed. We think it a superb example of English gourmet food at its finest, and now you can enjoy it wherever you are in Britain as our speciality is frozen gourmet food delivery.