A humble Arbroath smokie or even a bloater can be transformed into a perfect dinner party starter with a simple partner like new potatoes. Those old artisan ways of smoking haddock and herrings are in danger of disappearing as fewer people seem to want to eat them, and herring fishing is in decline too. A few smokers, such as Bob Spink in Arbroath, keep the tradition going, smoking small whole haddock as faithful to the old method as possible within modern-day restrictions. Some Sainsbury's sell Spink & Son's smokies tied with the red twine used to hang them during smoking. All Spink's smoked fish are also sold online at www.rrspink.com.
450g large Jersey Royals
2 Arbroath smokies
2 shallots, peeled and finely chopped
1tbsp chopped chives
1tbsp freshly grated horseradish
for the dressing
1tbsp good quality white vinegar, like Chardonnay
1tsp English mustard
4tbsp extra virgin rapeseed or olive oil
Salt and freshly ground black pepper
Cook the Jerseys in boiling salted water in their skins, drain and peel them while still warm. Cut in half and keep warm in a bowl covered with clingfilm. Remove skin from the smokie and carefully remove the flesh from the bones keeping it as chunky as possible. Add the flesh to the potatoes.
Make the dressing by mixing all the ingredients together and season. Toss the potatoes, smokie and shallots together and season, then arrange on plates. Scatter over the horseradish and chives and serve.