Saturday, May 3, 2014

Églefin, Eglefin, Aiglefin, and Haddock, Haddock and Smoked Haddock on French Menus.

Behind the French Menu
Bryan Newman
Haddock on French Menus.
Églefin or Aiglefin, Haddock, Halibot  –  Haddock in most of North America, except for French speaking Canada, and the UK except  for Scotland where it is mostly called Seed Haddock.
Drawing of Haddock from 1872.  The US Fish Commission.

This drawing is in the Smithsonian Museum of Natural History,
By my own restaurant observations in France, haddock is more popular in France than it is in the UK or North America. That should not be too surprising as the French eat more fish and seafood, per capita, than North America or  European countries. Haddock is a lean, tender white fish, with flaky meat similar to cod and on French menus, haddock will be offered smoked, baked, grilled, fried or poached.
Smoked haddock in France.
When smoked haddock is on a French menu, then the English name haddock is often used; that acknowledges the tradition of smoking haddock began in Scotland. However, some French chefs prefer their menus to remain completely French, and those menus will offer smoked haddock as églefin fume or aiglefin fume.  
Haddock dishes on French Menus:

Cannellonis Farcis à l'Églefin Fume – Cannelloni stuffed with smoked haddock. Cannelloni; the popular tube-shaped pasta, about 10 cms  (4”) long by about 1.50 cms (6/10”) diameter. It is enjoyed in France as much as it is in Italy.
Filet de aiglefin – A haddock filet.
Photograph courtesy of patrick janicek
Carpaccio d'Aiglefin Fumé, Vinaigrette de Moutarde à l'Ancienne. -  A smoked haddock Carpaccio served with a vinaigrette sauce made with a traditional mustard.

There are many different mustards in France, nearly all with claims to traditional formulas, and many French chefs do make their own mustards. Those in-house mustards are often made in a manner similar to the Moutarde de Meaux, the famed mustard from the town of Meaux.  Meaux is more famous for its Brie AOP cheese, but their mustard has a unique taste created by mixing the mustard seeds with water rather than crushing them. Despite many chef's interests in special mustards, the style of mustard that originated in Dijon is still the most popular in private homes.
Églefin Meunier  - Fresh haddock lightly fried in  a meunier butter and lemon sauce. Sauce Beurre Meunière is a simple, but tasty, butter sauce made with lemon juice and parsley added to the melted butter.   A meunier is a miller’s wife and dishes served with this sauce are most often translated as: " in the manner of a miller’s wife".
Filet d'Églefin aux Moules  – Filet of haddock served with mussels.
Filet de Haddock Poché sur Lit de Choucroute, Beurre Blanc. - A filet of poached smoked haddock served on abed of choucroute with a beurre blanc sauce. Here the use of the English name for haddock on a French menu indicates smoked haddock.  For more about French butter sauces see the post: The Butter Sauces on Your Menu. Three of France's Popular Butter Sauces.
Duo d'Églefin et Saumon – - A dish of haddock and salmon served together to emphasize the different, but complementary, tastes and textures.
Filet d'Églefin Posé sur une Mirepoix de Légumes aux Herbes et Coulis de Crustacés –  A fillet of haddock served on a bed of neatly cubed vegetables (mirepoix), flavored with a sauce made of blended crustaceans.
Papillote de Haddock, Courgette Craquante, Crème Ciboulette - Smoked haddock baked inside parchment paper, or aluminum foil to keep all the flavors and fragrances together. When the dish is ready the papillote, the parchment paper or aluminum foil container will be opened in front of the diner so he or she may appreciate the concentrated fragrance. The haddock in this menu listing is served with a crisply cooked courgette, the USA zucchini, and a creamy spring onion sauce.

Haddock and cod.
Haddock and cod are related, and the French stockfish or merluche, are dehydrated and salted cod or haddock a recipe for preserving fish that originated in Scandinavia. The tradition of drying fish with the aid of salt began hundreds of years ago; then that was the only way that fish could be sold inland far from the sea. Special recipes were made for these fish after they had been rehydrated and desalted. Many  of these traditional recipes remain very popular in Europe. Dishes made with rehydrated cod, and or other similar fish, will be on the menu as bacalao in Spain and baccalà  in Italy.  In the beginning, the fish used would be either cod, haddock, ling, hake and other cod family members; however, stockfish or merluche is nearly always identified with cod.  The French have created many wonderful dishes with rehydrated cod and other fish. Menus will offer popular traditional dishes with names such as brandade de morue, estoficado, stocaficado, stockfish à la Niçoise and many others. For more about these stockfish dishes and how they are made see the post:  Cod; the Most Important Fish in the World and the Most Popular Fish in France.

Salted cod drying on racks in Iceland.
Photograph courtesy of quinet.
France is not alone with many names that confuse haddock and other members of the cod family. Young haddock are mostly called scrod or schrod in the UK while those same names are both used for young cod and pollack in North America.
Smoked haddock served with a poached egg .
Photograph courtesy of William McInnes
The smoked haddock dish shown above is a traditional Scottish dish made with a Finnan haddie, and there are French versions of this dish. A Finnan haddie is a cold-smoked haddock and in the picture above the filet is poached, sometimes in milk, and served with a poached egg on top for a traditional Scottish breakfast.
The cod and haddock family.
Photograph courtesy of the Biodiversity Heritage Library.
Églefin, Aiglefin or Haddock on the menu in other languages:
(Chinese Mandarin -  黑線鱈  )(Danish – kuller), (Dutch – schelvis), (German –schellfisch),(Greek –bakaliaros), (Hebrew –   מרוון – hamor yam - חמור ים ), (Icelandic – Ýsa), (Italian – asinello, egelfino), (Norwegian -  hyse), (Polish - plamiak a. lupacz), (Portugues – arnica), (Rumanian – aglefin), (Russian – Пикша, piksha), (Spanish – eglefino), (Swedish – kolja). Thanks  for most of these translations to: Froese, R. and D. Pauly. Editors. 2014. FishBase. World Wide Web electronic publication., version (04/2014)

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Bryan G. Newman
Behind the French Menu
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