Teen Idol – a Fishy Tale

This fish dish takes me back to those adolescent years when I would race home from school and turn on the TV just to catch sight of my current idol. I was usually just in time to shed the books and snuggle up on the sofa before he leapt on screen. No, he wasn’t a heartthrob from some teen drama, nor was he a soap opera star or a host of some day-time TV talk show. He was that flamboyant chef – the Galloping Gourmet.

The English cooking personality, Graham Kerr, was dubbed many years ago as the Galloping Gourmet in a TV series of the same name. Every week, he would bounce onto the kitchen stage (wine glass in hand) to magically produce delicious dishes all the while uninhibitedly interacting with the studio audience. He used ingredients I had never heard of before, opening a whole new world of cuisine to the teenage me. He also cooked with copious amounts of butter, cream, and wine. Looking back on it now, that style of cooking makes my adult arteries constrict and I was pleased to learn that he now (in his late 70s) promotes a healthier style, outlined on his web-site and blog while still retaining his love of food.

Confessing this obsession with the TV show now seems a trifle embarrassing (aren’t all teen fixations?). But, one thing The Galloping Gourmet impressed on my young mind was a passion for cooking, the joy of savoring the textures, tastes and scents and not being afraid to try new foods. This kedgeree recipe is my take on one of his dishes, something that has made it onto the list of family favorites.

kedgeree

Kedgeree
Kedgeree is an Anglo-Indian dish and there are many, many variations. For all of you fans of Downton Abbey, it was traditionally served in Victorian and Edwardian times as one of dishes on the breakfast sideboard.

  • 1-1/2 cups long grain or Basmati rice
  • 2 Tablespoons butter
  • 1 to 1-1/2 lb. smoked haddock
  • Approximately 1 to 2 cups Milk
  • 1 teaspoon Dijon mustard
  • 1-1/2 teaspoon sweet paprika
  • 1/4 cup chopped chives
  • 2 eggs
  • 1-1/2 cups grated cheddar cheese

Preheat the oven to 350 degrees F. Cook the rice according to your preferred method. I usually cook it with twice the amount of boiling water with a pinch of salt in a pot with a tight fitting lid for about 15 minutes. When done, turn off heat and let it rest. In a large shallow casserole, cut the butter into pieces and then fork on the rice, separating the grains and letting it melt the butter.

Clean the pot and fill it with water to soft boil the eggs. Eggs should be room temperature before being lowered into the boiling water. After three minutes, remove the eggs from the boiling water and run them under cold water to stop the cooking process. The egg whites will be partly cooked and the yolk still runny.

Meanwhile, in a large, shallow pan poach the smoked haddock on low heat, skin side down, in milk. The milk does not need to cover the fish, but it helps to spoon the hot milk over the fish now and then. When the fish has become opaque and flacky, remove it from the milk. Reserve the milk.

Flake the fish, discarding skin and any stray bones. Put the fish in the casserole with the buttered rice. Add the mustard, 1/2 teaspoon paprika, the chives and half of the cheese. Cut the eggs with a sharp blow to the mid-section with a knife and scoop out the whites and yolk into the rice mixture. Mix thoroughly, wetting it with a little of the reserved poaching milk. It should be moist, but not be swimming in liquid.

Spread the remaining 1 cup cheese over top and sprinkle with the remaining 1 teaspoon of paprika. Bake for approximately 30 minutes.

kedgeree_prep

Postscript: In a post from blogger Vintage Cookbookery, So, Who was Marcel Boulestin?, I’ve realized that The Galloping Gourmet was one in a long line of male British TV celebrity cooks, beginning in 1936 with BBC’s Marcel Boulestin and continuing up to present day with the likes of Jamie Oliver and Gordon Ramsey.

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17 comments

  1. I have hazy recollections of Grahan Kerr. In Oz, we also had a bald guy called Bernard King who wore a cravat and slurped copious amounts of wine as he cooked. He had exaggerated gay mannnerisms way before we just passed such behaviour off as quirky. Not sure how well he cooked!

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    • It must have been a style of the times – Kerr had the same exaggerated mannerisms. You are right they were quirky, but I wouldn’t say they defined his orientation. And, there were numerous episodes of the Galloping Gourmet that drew on his travels in Oz. It was my first experience (though filtered through a TV screen) of the wide variety of Australian cuisine. Perhaps he had a presence there at some point – even if only fleeting in the late 60s/early 70s.

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  2. I have not heard of the Galloping Gourmet, but telly in Australia is always a long way behind the rest of the world. This sounds like a great dish and I love haddock but no one else in my family does…might have to inflict in on them and see how I go!

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    • We’re going back to the late 60s to early 70s with the GG’s popularity. No wonder many don’t know of him. I love this dish. Poaching the smoked haddock in milk takes away some of the fishiness, so it is quite possible that your family might actually like it.

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  3. Would I have your persmission to repost your Teen Idol – a Fishy Tale on my blog? I just love it. The writing is wonderful and the recipe looks scrumptious and is simple to make. Please consider it. I would be very honored. Thanks. Serena

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  4. Reblogged this on Rustic Plate and commented:
    I just absolutely love this post from fab food blogger Transplanted Cook. I can just see her now as a young girl, snuggled on the couch and wide-eyed, all ready to absorb the culinary-inspired flamboyance of the Galloping Gourmet. The recipe also looks scrumptious, which is no small matter. Thank you, Transplanted Cook!

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  5. I also watched Graham Kerr, the Galloping Gourmet was wonderful! So glad he is still around, thanks for the link and he is promoting more healthful recipes. I never heard of Kedgeree it sounds delicious, so nice that you featured the recipe.

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  6. I loved to read about your teenage passion… For a cook! 😉 …my passion for cooking started very early too but thanks to mum… We didn’t have tv chefs at that age… As well as we didn’t have all the cooking show, and tv programs abaout food we have nowadays… Too much sometimes! 😉
    Anyway i’m going to look at his blog now! For sure it’s cool for you to see how he changed his cooking style in the years!
    I think it changed also over here as well… When i look at my mum’s old cookbooks the recipes were full of oil and butter too… Now most of the chefs try to propose an healthier way to cook! ;)…. Apart from nigella maybe :-p
    I always wanted to try kedgeree… You dish really inspire me! 🙂

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