No matter the weather or season I enjoy eating salad. Not a plate of limp leaves with half-a-tomato and slices of cucumber but something vibrant: bursting with colour and energy. My current favourite leaves are handfuls of peppery rocket, simply garnished with shavings of Parmesan and dressed in a fine mist of balsamic vinegar. Balsamic is naturally sweet so obliterates requirement for oil and beautifully balances the salt of the Parmesan. Figs and crushed walnuts combine elegantly with rocket as does crumbled blue cheese with slivers of hard pear or even... smoked haddock with cranberries.

The latter combination arose to satisfy lunchtime hunger during a particularly damp, grey morning. Smoked haddock isn't a fish that I regularly buy but, I do enjoy its meaty texture and gutsy flavour – a little goes a long way and this robustness does require balancing by a range of considered flavours and textures. My result: a melange of tart, crunchy fresh cranberries set against the sweet softness of dried, complimented by the piquancy of finely sliced shallot and a final sprinkling of snipped chives. Unusual perhaps, but colourful and bursting with life it is...

Warm Smoked Haddock Salad

serves 1

  • 1 piece of smoked haddock
  • 1 tbsp fennel seeds
  • 1 bay leaf
  • 6 black peppercorns

  • handful of rocket leaves
  • 2 tbsp fresh cranberries, finely chopped
  • 1 tbsp dried cranberries, finely chopped
  • ½ shallot, finely sliced

  • lemon juice
  • virgin olive oil

1. Prepare a flavoured broth by pouring about ½ litre of cold water into a small frying pan. Add the
fennel seeds, bay leaf and black peppercorns then bring to the boil. Pop in the smoked haddock,
reducing the heat to a simmer for about 5 minutes depending on the thickness of the fish.

2. Whilst the fish cooks prepare the salad by combining the ingredients then flake the haddock over
the leaves. Sprinkle with a little lemon juice and olive oil and serve immediately.