Thursday, July 7, 2016

Liver Haggis in a Cod's Head

My daughter was very much not amused when I read the name of this recipe out loud.  She didn't much care for the sound of Hairy Tatties, either.  I take it she does not want either of these meals tonight, tomorrow night, or, really, ever, in the course of her natural existence.

I, however, find the name fascinating.  I found it in an old book discovered by luck at Half Price Books (the place to which my paycheck is automatically diverted, because let's be honest, it's going there anyway), while searching for a recipe for fish pie.  The book was published in 1972, a collection of the author's grandmother's traditional Scottish recipes.

And so, I present to you, liver haggis in a cod's head.

You will need:
2 cods' livers
1 cod's head

We interrupt this recipe to ask a vital question: Does a single cod have two livers?  An attempt to find out brings up a thousand sites on the benefits of cod liver oil, but no information as to how many livers a cod has.  I'm assuming only one like me, but that's probably because my subconscious is regurgitating that great line from Freshmen Studies at good ole Larry U: My mother is a fish.  Throw in some mathematical equations, and it becomes obvious that a fish must have one liver, just like people do.



So I suppose you need two cod...or cods.  (Another google search on my history, which also pulled up information on cod pieces.  I swear I was looking up fish recipes and fish information!)  But I did find out that the plural of cod is cod or cods.

Now that these important points are settled, you will also need:
a large onion
a pound of oatmeal
pepper and salt

These ingredients are not nearly as interesting, but apparently necessary.  Now that you have them:

  1. Wash the head thoroughly in cold salted water
  2. Boil the onion and chop it into small pieces
  3. Remove strings from livers and beat them with a fork
  4. Mix together oatmeal, onion, pepper, salt, and creamed livers
  5. Stuff this mixture into the cod's head
  6. Butter strong grease-proof paper and tie the head securely into it
  7. Tie this in a pudding cloth*
  8. Steam or boil for 90 minutes
* a pudding cloth is similar to a cheesecloth or muslin, and was an alternative to cooking food in skins made of animal intestines--as haggis traditionally is.

I admit, I'm curious how the 'haggis' portion of this tastes if simply made on its own.  I'm guessing that flavor seeps in front the fish head.  However, not having access to a fish head, cod or otherwise, at 10:30 at night--and not sure I have any plans to procure one, anyway--for now I'm settling for merely passing this along, and if someone else makes it, I hope you'll stop by and tell us how it tastes.

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