Classic Cullen skink

Cook Scotland's most traditional fish soup as the perfect starter for your dinner party
By Eadie Manson
Classic Cullen skink
  • Rating:
  • Serves: 4
  • Cook Time: 30 minutes
  • Prep Time: 10 minutes
  • Effort: easy


  • 200 g potatoes, peeled
  • 3 tbsp olive oil
  • 1 large onion, chopped
  • 1 large leek, chopped
  • 350 ml milk
  • 200 ml double cream
  • 2 undyed smoked haddock fillets, chopped into large pieces
  • 15 g butter
  • 6 langoustines, peeled, vein removed
  • few drops lemon juice
  • 2 tbsp chopped chives
  • oatcakes, to serve (optional)


1. Put the potatoes into a large saucepan of salted water and parboil for 10 minutes. Drain, chop coarsely and set aside until needed.

2. Heat 2 tablespoons of the olive oil in a large, heavy-based saucepan and add the chopped onion and leeks. Season with salt and freshly ground black pepper and sweat for 2-3 minutes, stirring continuously, until the onions are soft and translucent.

3. Put the milk, cream and haddock into another saucepan over a medium heat, bring just to the boil, then remove from the heat and lift out the fish, reserving the liquid.

4. Add the milk mixture and the fish pieces (retaining one large chunk for serving) to the onions and leeks.

5. Stir in the chopped potatoes and simmer for a further 5-6 minutes. Season to taste with salt and freshly ground black pepper.

6. Blend the soup to a nice smooth consistency and correct the seasoning if necessary.

7. Heat a small pan and add the remaining 1 tablespoon of olive oil and the butter. When the butter is foaming, add the langoustines and cook for 90 seconds until the langoustines begin to curl. Finish with the lemon juice and a little salt and pepper.

8. To serve, flake some of the reserved haddock into each bowl, pour over the soup and garnish with the langoustines and the chopped chives. Drizzle over any extra butter from the langoustine pan. Serve with oatcakes if desired.

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