A round-up of four modern Scottish seafood dishes you have to try – and one to make at home.
It’s no secret Scotland has some of the best seafood in the UK: langoustines from Peterhead, Shetland salmon, Isle of Mull oysters and hand-dived scallops to name a few.
Here, we take a look at what some of the best chefs in Scotland are doing to elevate the flavours of the world-class produce, creating something exceptionally unique and reinventing the modern classics.
We can’t wait to visit these venues when we’re allowed to travel again, but in the meantime, here’s an idea of what you can look forward to. And we also include a new version of an old favourite to make at home – Old Pulteney’s version of Cullen skink.
Loch Bay Restaurant, Stein, Isle of Skye
This unpretentious Michelin-starred restaurant is run by Inverness-born Michael Smith and his wife, Laurence.
A former food writer for The Press and Journal, Michael’s The Bay langoustine bisque with crab and Mull cheddar toastie is everything you would expect from a classically-trained chef who likes to take risks.
The bisque itself has a smooth velvety texture that’s bursting with flavour. Throw a toastie into the mix and you have yourself a classic dish that has been developed to showcase the best of the Scottish larder with a twist.
The dish features on the restaurant’s six-course tasting menu and has been praised for taking one of the UK’s favourite comfort-food dishes and turning it into a work of culinary art.
Contact: 01470 592235 or visit lochbay-restaurant.co.uk
The Seafood Shack, Ullapool
Kirsty and Fenella, from The Seafood Shack, work with local fishermen to showcase the best seafood caught just off the shore.
The menu changes regularly, depending on what produce they get on that day.
One crowd-pleaser that regularly features is their smoked haddock, pea and chorizo with macaroni cheese.
The smoked haddock and chorizo jazz up the classic comfort-food dish, giving it a delicious smoky flavour, while the peas freshen it up.
If you are lucky enough to get your hands on it when visiting the award-winning shack, you’ll never look at mac ‘n’ cheese the same way again.
Run by Stuart Ralston, who also owns Aizle, Noto hit the Edinburgh dining scene in August 2019.
Since then it has been one of the city’s go-to places for some seriously delicious scran.
The menu changes regularly, however the one dish that has stayed on the menu since its inception, and has diners and critics raving, is the mouth-watering North Sea crab, warm butter and seaweed brioche.
The picked crab is submerged in a silky warm butter sauce that’s made from the house-cultured butter.
The homemade brioche soaks up the buttery goodness, making it a standout dish and not one you’ll forget in a hurry.
Contact: 0131 241 8518 or visit notoedinburgh.co.uk
Wedgwood the Restaurant, Edinburgh
Paul and Lisa Wedgwood have created a must-visit contemporary restaurant right in the heart of Edinburgh’s Old Town on the Royal Mile.
A long-standing favourite is a starter of lobster thermidor crème brûlée, Bloody Mary sorbet and Parmesan shortbread, which regularly makes an appearance on the menu.
Paul has taken a dessert classic and made an outstanding savoury dish.
It’s rich and creamy, everything you’d expect from a brûlée, with generous chunks of tender lobster.
Contact: 0131 558 8737 or visit wedgwoodtherestaurant.co.uk
And here’s a recipe to make at home…
There are many versions of Cullen skink soup, but generally it is made with potatoes, smoked haddock, milk and onions or leeks.
The Moray town of Cullen is said to be home to the recipe, which is so hearty it’s almost a meal on its own.
This recipe has a rather unusual ingredient – a measure of Old Pulteney whisky.
Made in Wick, the whisky’s signature briny note is a perfect addition to the smoky soup, adding a subtle top note and elevating the dish to a rather special starter.
Old Pulteney Cullen skink
- 1 small leek, white part only, thinly sliced
- 30g butter
- 450g floury potatoes, peeled
- 300ml fish or vegetable stock
- 450ml full-fat milk
- 1 bay leaf
- 1 tsp thyme leaves
- 450g undyed smoked haddock, pin-boned and skinned
- 4 tbsp double cream (optional)
- Salt and freshly ground black pepper
- 1-2 tbsp Old Pulteney Single Malt Scotch Whisky
- Wash the leek thoroughly and pat dry.
- Heat the butter in a large pan, add the leek and “sweat” in the butter over a low heat for 3-4 minutes.
- Dice the potatoes evenly into 1cm cubes.
- Stir into the leek and soften for a couple of minutes.
- Add the stock and simmer for 6-7 minutes or until the potatoes are beginning to soften, then add in the milk and herbs.
- Bring back to a slow simmer.
- Break up the potatoes a little with the back of a fork to crush (not mash).
- Cut the fish into 2-3cm chunks and stir carefully into the soup. Poach over a low heat until the fish is just cooked.
- Avoid stirring to prevent breaking the fish up too much.
- Season to taste with salt and freshly ground black pepper.
- To serve, stir in the double cream and warm through thoroughly.
- Pour into a large soup tureen or deep serving dish and place on the table.
- Heat the whisky in a soup ladle over a gas flame.
- Tilt the bowl of the ladle to ignite the whisky and, while flaming, carefully pour over the soup.
- Tuck in and enjoy with more Old Pulteney Single Malt Scotch Whisky to bring out the maritime aromas of the sea.
Recipe by CJ Jackson at oldpulteney.com