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Turner Prize winning multi-media artist Douglas Gordon references mirror, memory and autobiography in much of his work. He also used the Goya portraits in the Prado as his storyboard when preparing the cameramen who filmed his real time portrait of Zinedine Zidane playing a match for Real Madrid, but that’s another, rather marvellous, story. This recipe is inspired by the sight of his father eating Scotland’s famous smoked haddock soup in the Glasgow institution that is Café Gandolfi. He stipulates that the fish is to come from Aberdeen; the new potatoes from Ayrshire and the sharp knife used to barely stir them should be handed down from your Granny. If you don’t have a Granny a Grandmother may suffice, but try to get hold of some finnan haddie, the lightly cold-smoked haddock that goes best with the onions, leek, garlic and milk that makes this dish far superior to a bisque or a chowder. He also wants us to mention that Café Gandolfi and his father are both still going strong.
One is enough,
Smoked, of course.
Haddock, that is.
Pan fried, just right; a capful olive oil and a knuckle of butter.
Meanwhile, new potatoes, preferably Ayrshires, halved, then quartered, should simmer, parboil... not too much water but add a wee cup of olive oil to the pot.
Not too much water,
but don’t throw away the water.
Never throw away the water.
Skim off the scum.
When tatties are done (they still
have some bite in the middle,
al dente, my friends, al dente…)
Reduce water to half volume.
Don’t worry if the potatoes start to catch on the pan; it’s delicious.
Finally, friends, introduce the fish with the butter and fat..
Crushed or sliced, no matter.
A little onion, or two.
Half a leek: the best part of.
So, where was I?
Give all into the pot – potatoes,
fish and the rest...
Do NOT blend, do NOT mash.
But stir the potage together with a sharp knife, preferably handed down from yer granny.
When the soup has become ‘soup’, fish out the skin and bones, pardon the puns and...
Add milk to give the necessary volume.
Add some wee parsley sprigs –
and if you feel adventurous, some coriander or lovage.
No salt required.
Pepper as much as you want but
hide it from your mum.
It’s the devil’s breakfast...
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