Smoked haddock, known as finnan haddie after the Scottish village Findon, is available in some fish markets. Salt cod makes a good substitute and is generally easier to find.
- 1/4 pound smoked haddock or salt cod
- 4 cups milk
- 1 clove garlic, peeled
- 6 sprigs fresh thyme, plus more for garnish
- 1 small potato, peeled and quartered
- 2 tablespoons heavy cream
- 1/2 teaspoon salt
- 1/4 teaspoon freshly ground pepper
- 3 tablespoons freshly grated horseradish, or to taste
- 1 baguette (12 inches long), sliced into 1/4-inch-thick slices on the diagonal
- 1 tablespoon olive oil
Place the smoked haddock in a large bowl, and cover with cold water. Soak fish 4 hours, changing water every 30 minutes. Alternatively, keep bowl under a thin stream of constantly running water. If using salt cod, soak the fish 12 hours.
Remove haddock from water; discard any bones. Transfer fish to saucepan. Add milk, garlic, thyme and potato. Set over medium-low heat; simmer until haddock is very soft, about 1 hour. Pour mixture through a sieve set over bowl; discard thyme and milk. Transfer solids to a large bowl.
Heat the oven to 400 degrees. Using a fork, gently mash the haddock, potato, and garlic together, adding enough cream to make a thick paste. Add the salt and pepper, and stir in the horseradish.
Place the bread slices on a baking sheet, and toast until golden. Brush toast with olive oil, and spread fish paste on top. Garnish servings with the fresh thyme.