• Step 1
    Simmer a pan of water

    Bring a pan of water to a simmer and add 1 tbsp white wine vinegar. Crack the eggs individually into teacups.

  • Step 2
    Create a whirlpool

    Swirl the water round to create a whirlpool effect, then gently tip each egg into the water, one at a time, letting each one set a little before you add the next.

  • Step 3
    Leave eggs to simmer

    Leave the eggs to simmer for 2 mins until the white is completely set. Lift out the eggs individually with a slotted spoon, cutting off any wispy bits of white with the edge of the spoon as you lift it.

  • Step 4
    Prepare in advance

    If making in advance, lift the eggs into a bowl of iced water to cool down. See ‘My tips for success’, below, for how to reheat the eggs before serving.

Simmer a pan of water
Create a whirlpool
Leave eggs to simmer
Prepare in advance

Smoked haddock tartlets with poached eggs & chives

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(4 ratings)


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Cooking time

Prep: 40 mins Cook: 1 hr Plus cooling

Skill level

Moderately easy


Serves 4

Gordon Ramsay's step-by-step guide to creating elegant prepare-ahead tartlets

Nutrition and extra info

Nutrition info


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  • 500g block all-butter shortcrust pastry
  • 400g smoked haddock with the skin
  • 400ml full-fat milk
  • 2 egg yolks
  • 2 tsp English mustard

For the cheese sauce

  • 25g butter
  • 25g plain flour
  • 100g Gruyère, grated

To serve

  • 4 poached eggs
  • 25g butter
  • bunch chives, finely snipped
  • about 40 baby spinach leaves
  • 1 tbsp olive oil

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Launch step-by-step
  1. Heat oven to 200C/180C fan/ gas 6. Divide the pastry into 4, thinly roll out each piece, then cut out 4 circles big enough to line 4 x 12-14cm tartlet tins. Press the pastry into the sides of the tin and trim the edges with a knife. Place in the fridge to cool for 10 mins, then prick the base and line each tartlet with baking parchment and baking beans. Bake for 15 mins on a baking sheet, remove the beans and paper, cook for 10 mins more until golden, then remove from the oven.
  2. While the pastry is cooking, place the haddock in a medium saucepan with the milk. Season the milk with a little black pepper, place on the heat and bring to a steady boil. Turn off the heat, then set aside until cool enough to handle. Remove the fish from the milk and strain the milk into a jug.
  3. To make the sauce, wipe out the haddock pan and place back on the heat with the butter. When the butter has melted and is starting to sizzle, stir in the flour and cook until combined to a sandy consistency. Gradually stir in the poaching milk, stirring well after each addition, then gently simmer over a low heat for 5 mins until you have a smooth white sauce. Take the sauce off the heat, then stir in the Gruyère.
  4. Break the haddock into large flakes into a bowl and discard the skin and any bones. Tip the egg yolks and mustard in with the haddock, then stir in the cheese sauce.
  5. Divide the filling between the tartlet cases, then bake for 20 mins until the filling is puffed up and golden brown like cheese on toast. Leave the tarts to cool slightly while you get the rest of the ingredients ready.
  6. To serve, poach 4 eggs (see video link, above). Gently melt the butter in a small saucepan, then add the chives. At the last minute, lightly toss the spinach leaves with a drizzle of oil and a sprinkling of coarse sea salt, then you’re ready to plate up.
  7. To plate up like a professional, overlap the spinach leaves around the plate in a petal formation. Sit the tartlet on top of the spinach in the middle of the plate. Gently place a poached egg in the centre of each tartlet. Spoon some chive butter over each egg and serve straight away.

Recipe from Good Food magazine, September 2009

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Show comments
MarieG10's picture

Just made this for the first time, they are delicious the poached egg on top finished it off but would be lovely without the egg as well, think I will make this for my friends next week.

stellababe's picture
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Fantastic recipe, one of my favourites for smoked haddock.

09twinklestar's picture
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This was delicious and not too difficult to make. Even my kids ate it, but it was very filling!

chocolate-e's picture

Had this at my sisters wedding as a starter, was so nice going to try this myself at home. :)

dylanski's picture
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Looked lovely and tasted very creamy

saralouisebraham's picture

Made this for a 'Come Dine' competition with friends, it was absolutely gorgeous and enjoyed by everyone, even someone who said they don't like fish! Thoroughly recommend this dish :-)

Frantic Flapjack's picture
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This was sublime. Highly recommended.

mashimario's picture

who care about the calories??!! it is delicious! eat more spinach to make it up or have a salad 2morro! i made my own smoke haddock that my dad caught this morning! and i added black pepper too! i made quite alot so the left over is good for pack lunch too (without the poach egg tho!)

loopylady10's picture

This looks absolutely stunning and sounds delicious, and I was going to try it as a starter for my next dinner party, but then I noticed the calories and grams of fat per serving ... maybe not a good idea for those watching their weight!