On a rare beautiful day in March l set off from my home in Kent to visit a small business that is very passionate about what they produce.
I was the guest for the evening at home with Patrick and Toni Salmon who own and run Alfred Enderby one of only a few independent family run traditional fish smoking firms left in England. There traditional smokehouse, with its distinctive tall chimneys, is about 100 years old with two generations of Enderby family involved in running it for two thirds of that time until Patrick ventured into the fish smoking business.
Alfred Enderby Ltd were the first to try and raise awareness of the special qualities of Grimsby Traditional Smoked Fish. Long before receiving Protective Geological Indication status the company set the standard by which other traditional smokers now aspire. Enderby’s continue to be regarded as the most reliable in delivering consistent quality and service.
I needed to be near the smokehouse Monday evening as we were visiting Grimsby market for the first task of the day very early Tuesday morning. Supper was a superb Smoked Haddock dish created by Toni
We weren’t greeted by another beautiful day. It was dark, wet and windy all the way down to Grimsby docks which is not looking it`s best in these modern times where ships servicing the vast wind farms in the North Sea have taken over from what was once Britain`s largest fishing port.
Wellies and protective clothing on we ventured to the market to search out the vast stacks of containers carrying 50 kg of fish in each that were going to be auctioned to the many suppliers and producers that were present. The search for quality extends to the daily task of buying the best and most appropriate large haddocks for smoking. These are available on the Grimsby fish market every morning and there are many people looking to get the best at the right price
Patrick with his buyer selected the fish they were looking to purchase and hopefully at a price that was good for them. 30 containers of 50kg haddock was purchased and delivered to the smokehouse within minutes of us returning there.
All the freshly purchased haddock is then filleted by hand producing 450gm to 1kg fillets ready to be brined in a secret solution for a secret length of time and then hung ready for the smoking process to start again at the end of every day.
The job now is to unload all the smoked fish that had been smoking overnight then box it up according to size to be distributed to London that night to be enjoyed in many of the capitals most exclusive hotels, restaurants and The Farmers Club.
When finally, the light of day showed up it made for a very gloomy place to be back in the weather we had been experiencing for so long but ha ho this wasn’t a seaside trip, I was here to see how our smoked haddock comes about and boy is it good!
They’ve been smoking fish at Alfred Enderby`s for over a hundred years now. The walls and doors are laden with thick tar built up over decades of smoking. It`s all part of the process. This is really traditional, nothing artificial. No smoke sprays or dyes. Wood chips are piled up daily in the bottom of the smoke chambers and the haddock is hung top to bottom on metal rods manually placed in and taken out ready to be smoked overnight and so the process continues daily.
Long may this tradition continue and you at the club continue to enjoy the Alfred Enderby Smoked Haddock!