Smoked Haddock and Spinach Gratin

Smoked Haddock and Spinach Gratin

Why does the theme to my cooking often involve panic? I’m forever running late, missing ingredients, and being too tired to think by the end of the day, and my cooking suffers. The kids have been living on hot dogs and pasta for the past week, which isn’t necessarily something to bemoan, but it means I do one meal for them and another for us after they go to bed. Efficient it’s not.

I love one dish meals and love them even more when they are ready in less than 30 minutes. I often think that the best dishes involve few ingredients – there’s much to be said for keeping things simple, especially considering my limited brain capacity lately.

Fish and cheese are two things my kids have always loved, so when I came across this recipe for smoked haddock with a cheesy sauce (, I thought it might be a winner. Yes it has spinach in it, and no, my kids won’t eat it. Hey, it just means more spinach for ME.

This dish goes from fridge to table in around half an hour, or even less if you assemble it ahead of time. You can easily substitute other vegetables on the base (like leeks, peas, broccoli, any other leafy greens, etc.) or leave the veg out completely and serve it alongside a salad or potatoes. For me, there’s something about smoked fish and spinach that makes me very happy. I often add both to fish pies (a creamy fish casserole topped with mashed potato and baked) or have it as a special weekend breakfast with a poached egg on top.

If you can’t find crème fraiche, you can use heavy cream, plain yoghurt (use full fat or else it’ll separate), or even cream cheese thinned down with a bit of milk. I don’t often have gruyere in the house (i.e. never), so I tend to use a good strong cheddar.

Do try to find undyed fish if you can, not  only to avoid the artificial colouring, but because I find the lurid yellow a little unsettling. If you can’t get it, don’t sweat it – the taste will be the same.

Cooking times will vary depending on how cold your fish is, how thick it is, and how hot your oven runs. As a guideline, bake this for around 10-15 minutes, checking it at the 10 minute mark. To test the fish (and any fish for that matter) is cooked through, pop a knife into the middle. If you can hold it against your bottom lip without burning yourself (but it still feels hot), then it’s done. Too hot, and it’s overcooked. Thankfully, this recipe is a little forgiving – the sauce seems to keep the fish moist even when it’s had 5 minutes too long in the oven.

Lisa’s Letters Home: Smoked Haddock and Spinach Gratin


  • (Serves 4)
  • 4 undyed smoked haddock fillets
  • 400g bag of spinach (washed thoroughly and drained)
  • 1 cup of crème fraiche
  • 1 cup of grated gruyere or cheddar
  • 1 tsp Dijon mustard
  • Ground pepper


Preheat the oven to 200C (fan assist)/400F.

Cook the spinach and drain thoroughly.

Try to get as much water out as possible.

In an ovenproof dish, spread the spinach over the bottom and place the fish filets on top.

In a bowl, combine the crème fraiche, mustard, and cheese and spread on top of the fish.

Grind a little black pepper on top.

Bake for 10-15 minutes, or until the fish is cooked and the top is brown and bubbly. Serve immediately.


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  1. Lisa Durbin
    October 05, 14:03 Reply

    Sorry, forgot to mention that the breadcrumbs are sprinkled on top before baking!

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