16 June 2011

Smoked Haddock & Sweetcorn Tart - superb picnic food!

If you don't make anything else over the course of the next two weeks, do try and make this tart - you won't regret it!

I'd reached the point where I had decided on meals for 6 out of the 7 days for the week, when it occurred to me that I was trying to find something for Tuesday - shopping day.  The point here is that shopping day is a perfect choice for something fishy.  I hate having to freeze fresh fish, and would by far prefer to use fresh over pre-frozen, you see.

So I pondered on the recipes I already know that involve fish and nothing filled me with enthusiasm.  So, I looked on the web for "Haddock Recipes" - and turned up HaddockRecipes.co.uk, a simply brilliant choice for all kinds of recipes involving haddock.  Several were skipped over, until I found the tart recipe from Laura Young.

Isn't it funny, how some recipes just say "Yes!", whereas others don't light up your imagination at all?  The minute I saw the name, I thought "oh, now, this one looks likely!" and upon first read-through I could almost taste how it was going to turn out.

Of course, I didn't count on Asda having a superlative piece of smoked haddock that, I am sure, turned this from a nice recipe into a gorgeous recipe.

On the way to do the shopping, it dawned on me that I didn't have a tart tin big enough to accommodate this tart.  As it turned out, neither did Asda - but they did have a glass Quiche dish that was the perfect size and by happy coincidence, made the perfect receptacle.  Serving was something of a delicate exercise, but achievable.

This photograph is so evocative, it makes me hungry!

I give my version of the recipe below, because I've altered four things in it.  Firstly, I've included a lot more fish, as the amount given just wasn't enough to cover what was quite a large tart tin.  Secondly, I've changed the wholegrain mustard to Dijon mustard, as I found the whole grains sank to the bottom of the egg mixture.  When you poured it into the tart tin, the whole grains all fell out in one place instead of being spread across the tart.  I can't help but think that Dijon will stay evenly spread.  Next, is that I recommend poaching the fish via the microwave, rather than on top of the cooker.  I find it a lot quicker and easier.  Lastly, I have dropped the temperature for cooking, from 220deg C to 190deg C.  I found the higher heat too aggressive for the pastry, which was very nearly burned by the time the tart was done.  The tart will need longer cooking, but that's fine so long as the pastry doesn't burn!

Apart from the lovely fish, I also used three Burford Brown eggs.  Burford Browns are just so gorgeously rich and I felt a tart like this could cope with a richer egg.  The ensuing flavour was beautifully savoury, yet light, without being at all sickly - even with 150ml of Double Cream in the mix!

So, do yourself and your family a favour - and make this recipe.  You won't regret it!



Pack of shortcrust pastry
500g smoked haddock
100ml milk
3 eggs
150ml cream
150g sweetcorn, drained
1 tbsp Dijon mustard
Handful of parsley
Salt and pepper

Method :

1.  Place the fish into a microwavable dish with the milk and some seasoning. Microwave on high for 3 minutes, to poach the fish until just shy of being done.  Remove it from the microwave and take each piece of fish out onto a plate to be flaked.  Reserve the milk.

2. Roll the pastry out to around 1cm thick and place it into a 23cm (9in) diameter loose-bottomed tart tin without trimming the sides. Line the pastry with baking parchment, and then tip some baking beans onto the paper. Blind bake the pastry for 15-20 minutes at 190deg C and then remove it from the oven and set it to one side.

3. Beat the eggs and mix them with the reserved milk and the cream. Finely chop the parsley and add to the mixture, along with the Dijon mustard. Season well.

4. Remove the baking beans and parchment from the pastry and then sprinkle the bottom of the tart with the sweetcorn and the flaked fish.

5. Pour the egg mixture over the fish and sweetcorn and then place the tart into the oven at 190deg C for 35-45 minutes, or until the surface no longer feels as though there is wet egg underneath it.

6. Once cooked, trim the excess pastry and then allow the tart to cool before cutting it into slices. 

For a main course, serve with new potatoes and a side salad.  Perfect also for picnics.


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