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Arbroath Smokies Recipe | Smoked Haddock Fishcakes

Scottish Food Recipes & Tasting Notes

We’re a passionate bunch at Monteiths with a real flavour for freshly prepared, locally sourced Scottish food alongside great cocktails. Our team have curated a selection of great food & drink Scottish recipes for you to try at home. Hopefully these give you a taste of what we’re all about.

Arbroath Smokies

Arbroath Smokies are a delicacy found on many top restaurant’s menus and Monteiths, with its focus on contemporary Scottish cuisine, is no exception. We use them in our tasty risotto which receives rave reviews from diners and staff alike. A guest visiting from the USA recently posed our chef a question though – what exactly is an Arbroath smokie and what’s the best recipe to use them in at home.

Our kitchen team have created this simple fishcake dish to highlight the flavour of the smokies – but before we show you how to cook them let’s explain exactly what a ‘smokie’ is.

Simply put, ‘Smokies’ are whole wood-smoked haddock with the backbone still in. They originate from Auchmithie, a small fishing town North of Arbroath which has strong links to Scandinavia. Production of the modern day Smokie moved to Arbroath and in 2004 the method was geographically protected by the EU in the same way as Camembert & Champagne.

To produce the perfect Smokie the fish are dry salted to draw out excess moisture before being rinsed off and placed on sticks above a half whisky barrel filled with burning wood. A hessian cloth layer is then placed over the fish which encloses them in the smoke while allowing the fire to breathe. After 30-40 minutes the fish are removed from the smoke with a coppery skin, rich and creamy flesh and a deep smoky taste.

While many aficionados claim these are best eaten straight off the spit when they come out the smoke, we love them in this simple fishcake recipe which makes 10 fishcakes.

Arbroath Smokie Fishcakes

You’ll only need 5 ingredients for this simple but satisfying supper;

  • 500g Arbroath Smokies
  • 500g Mashed Potato
  • 250g Leeks (finely chopped)
  • 50g Capers
  • 5g Chervil (finely chopped)

Blanch the leeks in boiling water and refresh – if you need a help check out this handy guide. Then peel and debone the Arbroath Smokies before adding all ingredients together in a bowl, seasoning and combining well by hand. Divide the mix into ten cakes in the same way you would shape a hamburger then shallow fry them for 4-6 minutes on a medium heat.

For best effect serve straight from the pan with a poached hens egg.

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