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Bette Davis' Finnan Haddie

Updated: May 9, 2022

Finnan Haddie might be a bit off most people's radar. Haddie = smoked haddock, and it got its start (many people think) in the Finnan, or possibly Findon areas of Scotland.

Think of Bette's recipe following as sort of a delicious fish and corn chowder, like this, or here's an excellent Finnan Haddie on Toast recipe similar to Bette's, but by my taste it improves on hers. (Cue the lightning strike.) I encourage you to take liberties with her recipe and include some of the techniques or ingredients in the first two links above!

Bette confides:

"As promised, I append my favorite Sunday morning breakfast dish:"


Soak two pounds of finnan haddie for two hours in cold water. Then boil slowly for thirty minutes, then separate into flakes.

Make a sauce:

1 tablespoons of finely chopped onion

2 tablespoons finely chopped green pepper

2 tablespoons finely chopped red pepper

2 tablespoons melted butter

1/2 teaspoon paprika

4 tablespoons flour, well blended.

Add two cups of milk, mix all well together and cook until thickened, then add the finnan haddie.

Serve with small pieces of toast around the dish.


From "What Actors Eat, When They Eat!" Kenneth Harlan and Rex Lease, 1939.

Ms. Davis' recipe page from the book.

Look out Blanche, here I come with another tray of Finnan Haddie!

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