'Finnan Haddie' is a type of cold smoked, delicately flavored haddock. This fish dish was originally called 'Findon Haddocks' for Findon, Scotland, the village where it originated in the 18th century. Finnan haddie is frequently served poached in milk as a breakfast dish.
HOW FINNAN HADDIES ORIGINATED
from the Boston Fish Pier Recipes for Sea Food (1913)
A DISCUSSION on the merits of food fishes among a party of men in Boston, and the difference between the flavor of the Scotch and American finnan-haddie, writes Col. Robert Mitchell Floyd, brought out an exclamation from an Americanized Scottish Highlander. "Mon! Mon!" he exclaimed, "but do you know how the findon-haddie happened to be?" We admitted our ignorance. "Many years ago at a seaport town on the North Sea, Port Lethen, a fire occurred in one of the fish-curing houses, and partially burned the end of the structure, which was piled full of lightly salted, freshly caught Haddock, which were lying on beds of dry kelp."
"After the flames were extinguished and the charred top and side of one of the piles of fish were removed, the Maister pulled out one of the slightly smoked Haddock, still warm from the heat. He smelt it, while the curious group of his men around him watched his every move; he tore off a piece of the fish, and tasting it, took another bit, sagely nodded his head, and passed it over to the foreman, Sandy, saying, 'Taste you it. Sandy! It is nae so nasty.' This proved to be a great day in Port Lethen, for every fisherman in the town had a Haddie given him free of cost that had been cured by the smoke from the burning kelp, and from that time until the present no one in Port Lethen, or the greater fishing village a mile away, Findon, ever cured a Haddock except by smoking them over the burning seaweed."
The cleverness of the Findon fish dealers in being the first to put this new cured Haddie on the market won for them the glory of the trade name "findon haddie," which was abbreviated later on into "finnan-haddie."