Smoked Haddock & Squash Soup

Sage Cream & Seeds

Recipe from Nathan’s 2023 cookbook, ‘Fish for Dinner’

Big bowls of this soup are needed when the days get shorter and you need something warm to make you comfortable and content. Smoked haddock, squash and sage sit very happily together, three amigos. The smokiness and saltiness of the haddock along with the sweet, smooth squash soup is wonderful.” – Nathan

Alternative fish:
scallops or any thick flaky white fish, like pollock, haddock, hake or ling

Serves 4

4 smoked haddock portions, about 120g (4¼02) each, skinned
1 litre (4 cups) full-fat milk
2 bay leaves
2 sprigs of sage
A pinch of salt

For the soup
A drizzle of olive oil
75g (2½02) unsalted butter
1 white onion, chopped
2 garlic cloves, chopped
20 sage leaves, sliced
500g (fib 2o2) squash, peeled, deseeded and chopped
200ml (7f1 oz) vegetable stock
Sea salt and freshly ground black pepper

For the sage cream
150g (5½oz) crème fraiche
150g (5½0z) double (heavy) cream
2 tablespoons chopped sage
Zest of 1 lemon

To garnish
4 teaspoons pumpkin seeds
4 tablespoons pumpkin seed oil

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TIP: Squash is a great soup-making ingredient and loves to be blended to a smooth soup like this one.

For the haddock, pour the milk into a pan large enough to hold all the fish and liquid. Add the bay leaves, sage and a good pinch of salt. Bring to a simmer, then take off the heat and leave the milk to stand and infuse while you cook the soup base.

Heat the oil and butter in a large saucepan that has a tight-fitting lid over a medium heat. When hot, cook the onion for 2 minutes, until it begins to soften but not colour. Add the garlic, sage and squash and cook for a further 5 minutes, stirring occasionally so nothing catches. Next, pour in the stock, then cover and cook for 20 minutes until the squash is tender.

Remove the lid, season with salt and pepper and cook for a further 5 minutes. Transfer to a blender and blitz for 2 minutes, or use a stick blender to blend until smooth.

Once the soup base is cooked, carefully place the haddock in the infused milk and slowly bring back to a simmer. Poach gently for 3 minutes.

Carefully lift the haddock out of the milk and drain on kitchen paper.

Save the milk to thin the soup.

For the garnish, lightly toast the pumpkin seeds in a dry frying pan over a medium heat for 2-3 minutes until they smell toasted, then add a pinch of salt and the pumpkin seed oil. Allow to cool to room temperature.

In a bowl, whisk the crème fraiche, cream, chopped sage and lemon zest together and season with salt and pepper to taste. Whisk to stilf peaks, then set aside.

Pour the soup back into the pan, thin it down a little with the poaching milk and warm it through. Taste to check the seasoning, adding more salt and pepper if needed. Share the flaked smoked haddock and soup between 4 warmed bowls and finish with the pumpkin seed garnish and the sage cream. Serve immediately.