Fish - and Shellfish
Scottish Cooking when a fish
dinner, including ale and perhaps a dozen oysters, cost little more than one
cigarette does now. As far back as the thirteenth century, salmon was so
plentiful that it was pickled for export to London to be fed to the poor, and
only a hundred years ago servants in big houses had contracts stipulating that
it was to be served to them no more than three times a week.
Bless the fish
for Peter’s sake,
He gruppit fish himsel’;
Bless the sheep for David’s sake,
He herdit sheep himsel’;
Bless the soo for Satan’s sake,
He was aince a soo himsel’.
The haddock has
St Peters thumbprint on the skin - a dark blotch above the pectoral fin
Wha'll buy my
caller herrin', they're no' brought here wi'oot brave darin'
Buy my caller herrin', ye little ken their worth
Named after Findon, Scotland, a
fishing village near Aberdeen, finnan haddie ( haddock ) is partially boned,
lightly salted and smoked haddock. It was originally smoked over peat fires, a
rarity now in wide commercial production. In Scotland, finnan haddie has long
been a favourite breakfast dish. It's available whole or in fillets and can be
refrigerated, tightly wrapped, for up to a month. Finnan haddie is best baked,
broiled or poached. It's generally served with a cream sauce.
Finnan Haddock with Cheese
1 teacupful cooked finnan haddock
2 oz. grated cheese
1 oz. butter
1 tablespoon milk
pepper, salt & mustard
a few rounds buttered toast
Free the haddock from bones. Melt the butter, and
add fish, cheese, egg, milk and seasonings. Stir over the fire till hot, and
serve on buttered toast.
One pound of smoked haddock
salt and pepper
2 oz. butter
2 tablespoons milk
1 teaspoon Worcester sauce
8 slices toast and butter
Poach the smoked haddock in milk for
Drain and flake. Beat the eggs together and season well.
Melt the butter in a saucepan, add the milk and beaten
eggs and cook over a low heat until the eggs are
scrambled. Stir in the cooked flaked fish and the
Herring in Oatmeal
Combining two items which formed a staple of Scottish diet over
many centuries, herring coated in oatmeal is a tasty, nourishing dish.
Allow 2 herrings per person
Salt and pepper
Dripping or cooking oil
Depending on how your fishmonger supplies the herring, you may have to
remove the bones yourself - cut along the underside of the herring, lay it
on a table, cut side down and hit across the backbone in a few places with a
rolling pin or your hand. Remove the backbone and as many of the smaller
bones as possible. Scrape the scales from the fish with a knife, remove
heads and tails.
Sprinkle with salt and pepper and either toss them in a plastic bag with
plenty of oatmeal or put the fish on a plate and coat them with oatmeal -
you may have to press the oatmeal into the fish to ensure it is fully
covered. Fry in meat dripping or cooking oil - put them in with the skin
side upwards first. Fry until lightly brown, turn and cook the other side.
It should take 5/7 minutes.
Drain the fish on kitchen paper (paper towels).
Herring in Oatmeal 2
4 Herrings, cleaned and boned, with heads and tails removed
100g Butter, melted
Vegetable oil for frying
1 lemon, juiced
Salt and Pepper
Dip the herrings in the melted butter, season with salt and pepper and then
coat in the oatmeal. Heat a little oil in the frying pan, place the fillets in
the pan flesh side down, and cook for 2-3 minutes on each side until tender.
Once the fish is cooked, remove from the pan and add the lemon juice to the
remaining butter, mix together and spoon the juice over the herring.
Herring Stuffed with Oatmeal
175g (6oz) Scottish Oatmeal
25g (1oz) chopped Suet
25g (1oz) grated onion
1 tablespoon chopped fresh herbs
1 egg, beaten
50g (2oz) butter
Salt and Pepper
Clean, bone and filet the herrings. Mix together the oatmeal, suet, onions
and herbs, and bind the stuffing with milk. Sprinkle the fillets with salt and
pepper. Spread the stuffing over the fillets and roll up, securing them with
wooden cocktail sticks. Lay the herrings in a buttered ovenproof dish. Sprinkle
with some oatmeal, brush with beaten egg and dot with butter. Bake in a medium
oven for about 20 minutes. Serve with lemon.
Herring with Drambuie Butter
Herring in oatmeal is a classic Scottish dish. In more
modern times, chefs have added their own touches to the basic dish. Drambuie
Butter is one way of adding to the flavours.
Allow two herrings per person
4 oz unsalted butter (one stick)
2 teaspoons lemon juice
1 tablespoon finely chopped parsley
3 tablespoons Drambuie liqueur
Prepare the herring as per the Herring
after you have prepared the Drambuie Butter (below).
To make the Drambuie Butter, simply soften the butter but
don't melt it. Beat in the other ingredients and then roll out into a
cylinder shape witha diameter of about one inch. Wrap in foil/greaseproof
paper/vegetable parchment/waxed paper and leave in the refridgerator to
harden again. Cut into slices and place two on each fish immediately before
serving the cooked herrings. Add garnish of cress or lemon according to
Any leftover butter can be put on a tray and frozen and stored in small
freezer bags. But don't keep them for more than one week.
The delights of a meal of herrings
and potatoes when cooked in the traditional Shetland manner, in a kail-pot over
the open fire, with the herrings laid over the potatoes. Nutritionally, too,
this is a meal which could scarcely be bettered.
Scotland is full of Buckies
(winkles) which are easily gathered from rocks at at low tide. They can be
cooked in a pot of fresh water on the beach and eaten in the English manner with
a pin, or, far better, they can be made into soup with the addition of fish
stock or milk and water, and oatmeal, much in the same way as the cockles or
But they still have to be extracted
with a pin, and the water they are first boiled in needs careful straining
before it is added to the other stock as it is apt to be gritty. Be sure not to
add any salt to either stock or water. In Buckie soup the oatmeal should not be
knotted, but rained smoothly and steadily, a little at a time from the left hand
into the boiling stock, while stirring continuously with a wooden spoon in the
right hand. The object is to get the consistency of a thin gruel, which is then
cooked for about twenty minutes before the cooked winkles are added, after which
you allow it to stand for ten minutes longer before you eat it.
Bay of Nigg nr Torry
was a good source for Buckies and we filled message bags with them to take home
for feasting - as ever we over indulged and got sick of em. They were boiled and
cooled before being put in a paper twist before we delved into them with a
safety pin out of doors, The Black Closure 'Scurrel' was flicked off and
the Gastropod winkled from its spiral - grit an all - and chewed then swallowed
- the empty shell could be placed between the first and index fingers at the
knuckle to make a shrill whistle when blown hard across the aperture which would
'fair mak ye deef'
Bay of Nigg Buckies -
Ye'll nivver stairve - The meat is high in Protein and low in Fat.
Avoid harvesting these near sewage outlets.
300 ml (10 fluid ounces ) milk.
225 qrams ( 8 ounces ) scallops, fresh or defrosted.
25 grams ( 1 ounce ) margarine.
25grams ( 1 ounce ) flour.
1 tbs onion, chopped finely.
2 tbs natural yoghurt.
10 ml (2 tsp) Worcestershire sauce.
1 tsp wholegrain mustard.
I tbs fresh parsley. chopped.
Pinch of cayenne pepper.
Salt and freshly-ground black pepper, to taste.
2 hard-boiled eggs, chopped.
2 tbs fresh Parmesan cheese, grated.
To Garnish: cayenne pepper.
1 Pre-heat oven to 400 deg. F., 200 deg. C., Gas Mark 6.
2 Place milk and scallops into an ovenproof pan. Poach gently for about 3
minuteS. Strain and reserve cooking
liquid. Set scallops to one side.
3 Melt margarine in a pan, stir in the flour and cook for 2 minutes. Gradually
add reserved cooking liquor and stir over a gentle heat until sauce thickens.
4 Remove from heat and stir in remaining ingredients except the Parmesan cheese.
Finally fold in the scallops. 5 Dust with
Parmesan and bake for 15 to 20 minutes until golden brown.
Garnish with cayenne pepper before serving. If preferred can be served in
individual ramekins.Serves 4.
Parton is Gaelic for Crab
We used to hunt for crabs in the rock pools and
under Boulders on the beaches - it was fun to inspect their purses for eggs - if
present they were returned to their habitat. They could gie ye a fair nip
wi' yon cla's
Boil two partons for half an hour; when perfectly cold,
break the large claws and pick the meat out of them, also the meat out of the
body, and the red roe; beat them in a mortar with four ounces of sweet butter, a
few breadcrumbs, 2 dozen stewed oysters, with some of the liquor, and a glass of
white wine. Then wash the back shell clean, and put a paste collar round the
edges of it; fill it with the meat, and stick bits of butter on the top. Bake it
half an hour.
Parton Bree (Soup)
Bree is the scottish word the for the liquid which food has been cooked in. So
parton bree translated means crab soup, it is most delicious.
1 large cooked crab
2oz/50g basmati rice
1 pint/600ml liquor from boiling the crab or water
¼ pint/125ml single cream
Finely chopped chives
1 Remove all the meat from
the crab (keep the claw meat separate).
2 Cook the rice in a pan
with the milk and water until tender.
3 Place the rice and the
brown body meat from the crab into a sieve placed over a
4 Push all of the
ingredients through the sieve with the back of a spoon.
5 Add the white meat and
cream to the saucepan.
6 Heat the contents of the
7 Taste to check for
seasoning, add salt and pepper to taste.
8 If the partan bree is too
thick, you can add some more milk if required.
Serve garnished with fresh,
green, finely chopped chives.
inset - Partons placed in Barrels at
How to Dress Crab
Female (Hen) crab's roe is composed of her eggs, a male (Cock) crab's roe is his
sperm. This is why male and female roe have different taste and consistency.
Crab sticks are not crab.
Not Too Fishy Pie
2 fillets Smoked Haddock
10mls Lemon Juice
2 Potatoes for baking
2 Red Peppers
2 x 10ml spoons oil
50g Plain Flour
Pinch Salt and Pepper
50g Sunflower Margarine
½ pint Semi Skimmed Milk, and juices drained from vegetables
100g Low Fat Cheddar (keep some back for topping)
100g Wholemeal Flour
60g Scottish Oatmeal
50g Sunflower Margarine
Pinch of Salt and Pepper
1. Place fish on a microwaveable plate, add lemon juice, cover with cling
film and microwave on high for 1 minute. Flake when cool.
2. Scrub potatoes, prick all over and microwave for 6-8 minutes, or until
cooked. Cut into slices.
3. Prepare vegetables - wash and slice leeks, peppers, mushrooms and peel and
finely chop onion. Place in a microwaveable dish with the oil. Cook on high for
3 minutes. Drain vegetables and add the liquid to the milk.
4. To make cheese sauce - melt margarine for 1 minute, add the flour,
mustard, salt and pepper. Add the milk mixture and cook on high for 5 minutes,
whisking every 2 minutes. When thick, stir in most of the cheese.
5. Wash broccoli and place in a microwaveable container with 2 x 15ml spoons
of water. Cook for 2 minutes.
6. Make crumble topping by rubbing margarine into flour, oatmeal, salt and
pepper. Stir in the rest of the cheese.
7. Assemble pie by putting a layer of vegetables at the bottom, topped with
the flaked fish, then the sliced potato, pour on the cheese sauce and finally
top with the crumble topping.
8. Cook on combination 1 medium for 8-10 minutes. Garnish with the cooked
Scallops rolled in Ayrshire bacon, with black pudding and a
creamed leek sauce.
Pan Fried Scallops in Bacon
Cook the scallops wrapped in bacon in oil in a hot pan, add a bit of sea
salt and some cracked black pepper.
In another pan, cook the finely diced leeks,
again adding salt and pepper. Add a white wine and cream reduction, then turn
the heat down a little.
Turn the scallops to get colour on all sides, add
some white wine to stop them burning they only need one or two minutes each side
and add the slice of black pudding to the pan.
Serve on a plate with the black pudding in the
centre and the scallops balanced on top. Pour the creamed leeks round the edge,
then finish it off with a lemon wedge and a little bit of dill.
A very simple recipe for scallops, which really brings out the subtle flavour of
this delicious shellfish.
King scallops, shucked and cleaned
Salt & black pepper
85g softened butter
2 tablespoons (30ml) fresh chopped basil
Juice and rind of 1 lime
Preheat the grill.
Remove the coral or roe from each scallop and set
aside. Slice the scallop in half and set aside.
In a small bowl mix the butter, basil and lime
together and set aside.
Spread 40g of the flavoured butter onto a grill
pan. Add the scallops to the grill pan 5cm apart.
Dot with the remaining butter and cook for 3-4
minutes, turning occasionally. Transfer to a serving dish.
Spoon the juices from the pan over the scallops
and serve with sliced new potatoes and salad leaves tossed in a little
Whisky with green ginger is known as "Whisky-Mac" and the same ingredients can
add an extra sparkle to prawn cocktail!
2 fluid ounces of blended Scotch whisky
2 fluid ounces green ginger wine
1 tablespoon of honey
A 1-inch square of peeled fresh ginger, chopped finely
2 ripe avocados
8 ounces prawns
Lettuce leaves, lemon slices and possibly a whole prawn, for garnish.
Mix the whisky, green ginger wine, honey, chopped ginger. Peel the avocados
and remove the stone. Chop the avocados into bite-size pieces, place in a
dish and soak them and the prawns in the whisky mixture for half-an-hour.
Place lettuce leaves in six dishes and add the prawn mixture. Finish with a
slice of lemon and a whole prawn (if you have one).