Finnan Haddie


Prep time15 minutes


Finnan HaddieOne of our favorite breakfast or lunch dishes on a cold rainy day is this old Scottish favorite made from smoked haddock in a white sauce, with the white sauce made from milk in which the fish was cooked.

Finnan haddie is smoked haddock. You can sometimes find it frozen at your fishmonger. That's OK - Finnan haddie is said to have been invented by a penurious Scot who wanted to salvage a load of haddock damaged by smoke in a warehouse fire. Rather than let it be discarded, he claimed it was the Irish ("Fennian" or "Finnan") style and sold it for food. So this recipe was never developed to use the purest, freshest, local ingredients - it came from a salvage operation!

Finnan Haddie can be a tricky dish. In general, people that like it like it the way they like it (follow that?) and any deviation is simply wrong. For example, one of our favorite restaurants used to make it one way, and Lorna loved it. Then the new chef changed the recipe and she won't eat it any more. It wasn't a big change - he didn't add pickles or substitute mussels for haddock - he just makes it thinner.

So this recipe is for a thicker version. It's easy to thin it by adding cream, but it's a little more work to thicken it up again.


1eaBay Leaf
2TButter (Unsalted)
1eaFinnan Haddie (I get it frozen at Wood's)
2eaEggs (Hard-boiled and shelled)
1eaParsley, Curly (small bunch for garnish)


  1. Chop the finnan haddie into 1-inch squares, or flake it.
  2. Poach the finnan haddie with the bay leaf in the milk. When the milk comes to a boil, reduce the heat and let it simmer.
  3. Make a roux with the flour and butter. Cook it a moment until it just starts to color, to shed the floury taste. 
  4. Strain the fish-poaching milk into a cup, and use that to make the white sauce. It will be double thick - thin as needed with more milk.
  5. Slice both hard-boiled eggs in an egg slicer, then chop one finely. Stir the chopped one into the sauce and use the other for a garnish.
  6. Add salt and pepper to taste, and serve hot with toast points or Steamed New Potatoes.
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Finnan Haddie at Champlin's in Galilee, RI

We just got a really good, unfrozen finnan haddie at Champlin's in Galilee, RI, adjacent to the Block Island Ferry just west of Point Judith.