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 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.
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.
- So, Who was Marcel Boulestin? (kalesijablog.wordpress.com)
- Original TV chef Graham Kerr swaps fatty foods for a healthier lifestyle (timescolonist.com)
- How to cook Allegra McEvedy’s coronation kedgeree (metro.co.uk)
- Kedgeree my way (projectsenses.wordpress.com)
- All About Kedgeree (lukehoney.typepad.com)