Rarebit-style Curried, Smoked Haddock

Serves 4

This is a variation on a usual rarebit, combining curry flavours and smoked haddock in a creamy sauce. The béchamel here is made with ale, but if you prefer not to use a hoppy ale, replace it with a lighter one or use the milk from poaching the fish. Serve as a weekend lunch or easy weeknight supper alongside a green salad

Marcus' Kitchen


Serves 4

  • 200g smoked haddock
  • 250ml milk
  • 15g unsalted butter
  • 1 tbsp plain flour
  • 1 tsp curry powder
  • 100ml Indian Pale Ale
  • 1 tsp English mustard
  • 1 tbsp Worcestershire sauce
  • 200g extra mature Cheddar cheese
  • 2 egg yolks
  • 4 thick slices of sourdough bread
  • 1 red chilli, deseeded and thinly sliced
  • 2 spring onions, trimmed and thinly sliced


For the haddock

First, poach the smoked haddock. Place the fillet, skin side down, in a wide saucepan and cover with the milk. Place over medium heat and bring to the boil, then reduce to a simmer and poach the fish for 4-5 minutes until the flesh flakes easily. Remove from the heat and allow the fish to cool in the milk, then carefully remove from the pan, remove the skin and any bones and flake into small pieces. Retain the milk for now, in case you need to add some to the sauce.

For the rarebit sauce

Melt the butter in a saucepan over medium heat and once it starts to foam, stir in the flour and curry powder. Cook for 1-2 minutes, then add half the ale and whisk until smooth. Add the remaining ale along with the mustard and Worcestershire sauce and whisk to a thick sauce.

Remove the pan from the heat and tip in the grated cheese. Whisk into the sauce until melted and fully incorporated, then add the egg yolks and beat them into the cheese sauce.

To finish

Preheat the grill and toast the sourdough lightly on both sides.

To finish the rarebit mixture, fold the chilli, spring onions and poached haddock through the cheese sauce.

Put the toasted sourdough on a baking tray and spoon the rarebit mixture on top of each piece, spreading it out flat until it almost reaches the edges (don't worry if some slips over, it will just bubble up deliciously!)

Cook under the hot grill until bubbling and nicely golden, keeping a constant eye on the rarebits as they will colour quickly.

Serve immediately, while still hot.

Find simple weekend lunches like this in Marcus Wareing's cookbook, Marcus' Kitchen..