Fishy Tales: Haddock with Parsley and Whisky Sauce

I love cooking a clean and fleshy haddock. I’d choose it over a cod or a plaice any day. But if you are not quite sure how to determine its freshness, check if the fillet holds well together, a fresh one should be really firm and translucent. If your haddock fillet is chalky and opaque, it will not make for a good piece of fish.

Poaching a protein-rich fillet of haddock symbolises clean, elegant cooking to me. The good thing about poaching a fish is that it keeps it moist and the fat content low.

Here’s how you can go about making a haddock in whisky sauce.

Ingredients

  • 4 skinned haddock fillets, about 115 gm each
  • A tbsp. of dry white wine
  • A tbsp. of dry white wine
  • 2-3 stalks of parsley
  • 2-3 chives
  • A bay leaf
  • ½ a tsp. of black peppercorns
  • For the sauce:
  • A small handful of parsley leaves
  • A small handful of spinach leaves
  • 2-3 chives
  • A tsp. of capers
  • A tsp. of vegetable oil
  • 100 Pipers
  • A tsp. of whisky
  • preferably 100 Pipers
  • ½ a tsp. of mustard
  • Black pepper and salt
  • ½ tsp. of sugar

The Process

Then you’ll have to…Take a large frying pan and place the haddock fillets in a single layer. Add cold water so that the fish is immersed. Add wine, mace, chives, parsley stalks, peppercorns, and bay leaves. Bring it to a simmer and reduce the heat. Let it gently poach for a good 5-8 minutes. The flesh will turn opaque. On the side, take a small bowl of a food processor and add spinach leaves, parsley, capers, chives, whisky, oil, lemon juice, and the mustard. Take 3 tbsps. of the hot liquid from the pan and add it to the ingredients in the food processor. Now blend it till it turns into a smooth puree. Add salt and pepper. You may also add a little sugar to your liking. Process it yet again. Take a slotted spoon and lift the fish from the liquid and pat it dry. Place them on a plate and pour the sauce on top.


MY OLD PAL: BRINGING BACK A PROHIBITION ERA WHISKEY COCKTAIL

Between the two great wars when America was dying of thirst, Harry MacElhone, the Irish New Yorker began making his fortune, tending the New York Bar in Paris. A haven for expats, the New York Bar was a regular hangout spot for William ‘Sparrow’ Robertson – a prodigious drinker and a sports writer working out of the New York Herald-Tribune’s Paris office. According to Harry, during the course of a conversation, Sparrow spoke of a drink he invented when he “fired the pistol the first time at the old Powderhall foot races”. The diligent Harry noted down the formula, publishing it for the first time in his book ABC of Mixing Cocktails, crediting his ‘old pal’ Robertson for the inspiration. The recipe has gone through many iterations and evolutions, switching dry vermouth for sweet and Canadian rye for bourbon. Dry, light, with a mild peppery finish, you can mix your own Old Pal without much fuss.

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Now, here’s a monkey that you wouldn’t want to get off your back (read hands). Ever heard of a monkey bread? This sweet, sticky, buttery delight came to America all the way from Hungary via Hungarian immigrants, and hit the streets of southern California around the 1940s. Some even say Nancy Reagan took such a liking to the monkey bread that she served them to the White House guests in the 1980s. Whatever the tales may tell, the humble monkey bread has wowed food lovers all over the world. Many sweet, and savoury variations of the recipe are eaten worldwide, mostly because how it can be easily pulled apart with just your fingers. But, why name such a sweet, sinful, delightful treat a ‘monkey’ bread? While there are way too many stories behind its naming, nothing holds a candle to the one you’re about to read. And, it’s got to do with monkeys, of course! Some say just like monkeys tear everything that they lay their hands on apart with their fingers, so do you while eating this bread. Hence the name, monkey bread. Traditionally cooked over coal fire in clawed pots, the more contemporary version of the monkey bread consists of blobs of biscuit, or bread dough, piled one upon the other in Bundt pans. If you like your sweet treats to be indulgent, and don’t mind all the sticky awesomeness, give the monkey bread a try. Take it a notch higher on the delectable scale, and add some whisky to your monkey bread. Considering the rich sugariness of the bread, a bourbon is the best choice when it comes to infusing your monkey bread with a whisky. The fruity smokiness of the bourbon, and its subtle notes of sweetness marries beautifully into the bread dough. A Kentucky Straight Bourbon works best with this recipe.

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Does the smell of warm apple pie take you back to childhood? Those days that we stood on our toes by the kitchen counter and watched mom slide out the freshly baked golden-crusted pie out of the oven. We couldn’t wait to break into the delicious tops and dive right in. Now that we’re all grown up, what’s a better way to revisit this than by reinventing it into a delight that also elevates our humdrum adult lives? How? With just a few drops of whisky, of course. Originally inspired from the docents at the James K. Polk House where apples were soaked in whisky before following the general recipe, whisky with apple pie has found numerous epicureans. Its cooking process has but varied across different households. While you can bake the pie with any whisky you have on your shelf, using one that complements its flavours of cinnamon, nutmeg, and apple lifts the pie even more. Aberlour, The Glenlivet, and Seagram’s are some whiskies that tend to suit the pie in a way that sings on your palate, transporting you back to those good old days.

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