Bergamot, bay and Champagne-cured haddock

This is a fun way to jazz up a humble (okay, boring) white fish - it works equally well with cod or pollock. We often make this delicate dish as a canapé, serving it with just a squeeze of bergamot and a drizzle of olive oil. You could also make it into a salad with capers and a little lemon flesh, or as an open sandwich in the same way you would eat smoked or cured salmon. Once cured, the fish will last for a few weeks, so long as it is well wrapped and kept in the fridge. Try to use the freshest fish you can get your hands on.

Bergamot, bay and Champagne-cured haddock

Bergamot, bay and Champagne-cured haddock

Serves 10 as a canapé or 4-6 as a starter

Zest of 1 bergamot or Amalfi lemon
4 bay leaves, shredded
150g salt
150g white caster sugar
150ml Nyetimber Blanc de Blanc (Prosecco or Champagne would also work well)
500g very fresh haddock fillets, skinned
Juice of bergamot or lemon, to serve
Extra-virgin olive oil, to serve

Mix the bergamot, bay, salt and sugar in a bowl, and spread half of the mix over the bottom of an unreactive container that will comfortably fit the fish. Sit the fish on top, then cover with the remaining mix. Pour over the wine, making sure the fish is submerged.

Cover in clingfilm and place in the fridge or somewhere cold for 48 hours, but no longer.

Remove from the fridge, rinse the fish under cold water and discard the cure. Submerge the fish in cold water for 4 hours, changing the water every hour. Have a taste before you remove it; it should have a perfect balance between sweet and salty. If the salt still dominates, leave it in the water for a little longer.

Drain away the water, dry with kitchen towel, then return, uncovered, to the fridge to dry out for another hour or so. When you’re ready to eat, remove from the fridge (you will find it easier to slice if it’s straight from the fridge) and use a very sharp knife to carve off wafer-thin slices. Arrange on a plate, sprinkle with a little pepper, a little bergamot or lemon juice and a good drizzle of extra-virgin olive oil.

Bergamot, bay and Champagne-cured haddock

Bergamot, bay and Champagne-cured haddock