Poached Haddock with Mussels, Spinach and Chervil

A flavoursome combination of malt whisky and locally procured fish make this great dish by Rick Stein into a memorable main course
By Rick Stein
Poached Haddock with Mussels, Spinach and Chervil
  • Rating:
  • Serves: 4
  • Cook Time: 25 minutes
  • Prep Time: 20 minutes
  • Effort: easy


  • 150 g butter
  • 1 shallot, finely chopped
  • 600 ml mussels, cleaned
  • 4 x 175 g pieces of unskinned haddock fillets
  • 900 g fresh spinach, washed, large stalks removed
  • 1 tbsp malt whisky
  • 1 tsp fresh lemon juice
  • 1 tsp chopped chervil
  • black pepper


1. Heat 25 g of the butter in a 30 cm sauté pan, add the shallot and cook gently for 3 minutes, until soft. Meanwhile, put the mussels and 150 ml of water into a large pan, cover and cook over a high heat for 3-4 minutes, until the mussels have opened. Tip them into a colander set over a bowl to collect the cooking liquor. When they are cool enough to handle, remove the mussels from all but 8 of the nicest shells. Cover and set aside.

2. Pour all the mussel liquor except the last tablespoon or two (which will
be gritty) into the sauté pan, bring to a simmer and then add the haddock, skin-side up. Cover and simmer gently for 3 minutes. Remove from the heat (leaving the lid in place) and set aside for about 4 minutes to continue cooking.

3. Meanwhile, melt another 25g of the butter in a large pan. Add the spinach and stir over a high heat until it has wilted. Cook, stirring briskly, until all the excess liquid has evaporated, then season to taste with some salt and pepper.

4. Divide the spinach between 4 warmed plates and put the haddock on top. Keep warm. Return the sauté pan to the heat, add the remaining butter and boil rapidly for 3-4 minutes, until the liquor has reduced and emulsified into a sauce. Stir in the whisky and lemon juice and boil for 30 seconds. Add the chervil and mussels and stir for a few seconds, until they have heated through.

5. Spoon the mussels around the spinach and haddock, dividing the unshelled mussels equally between the plates, then pour over the sauce and serve.

Rate This Recipe