Tuesday, 28 August 2012

Smoked Haddock & Tomato Tart

Back in December 2010 my good friend John attended an event where Allegra McEvedy was showing off her new book (with Paul Merrett) Economy Gastonomy. Being the lovely person that he is, he bought me a copy for Christmas and had it signed by both Allegra and, randomly, Sheila Hancock (who in her own word is “the worst cook in the world”). In the months that followed I tried a good few recipes from the book including that which follows as well as a tasty roast chicken and an amazing bakewell tart, both of which I will write up at a late date.

Looking back over these recipes reminds me that some of them were very good indeed so I will definitely be dusting that off again soon. Luckily it is one of the books that I have with me currently rather than being in storage - I try not to think about the books in storage too much as sod’s law is that I’ll suddenly get the urge to cook up from books that I don’t have!

Here then is a smoked haddock and tomato tart - making quite a summery lunch, try and use the ripest, tastiest tomatoes possible and do give it a go before the sun completely does a bunk.

Smoked Haddock & Tomato Tart
Serves 2

200g puff pastry, (½ a ready-made block), cut into 2 even blocks
150ml milk
100g smoked haddock, chopped into dice
4  medium very ripe & juicy tomatoes, cut into 4mm thick slices
40g mature cheddar, grated
50g mixed watercress & rocket salad 
2 tbsp extra virgin olive oil
2 tsp balsamic vinegar
2 tsp chives, finely chopped

Roll each block of puff pastry and roll into rough circles about 5mm thick. Put a bowl (about 17cm) on top to trim off edges and make better circles and then prick all over with a fork. Put them in the fridge to rest for about 30 minutes while you get on with the rest.

Preheat the oven to 190C.

On a large baking tray, place a sheet of greaseproof paper and lay the pastry circles on that, side by side. Cover with another sheet of greaseproof paper and then on top of that another baking tray. If you have one put a cast iron dish, or other similarly heavy pot on top.

Bake for 10-15 minutes, checking halfway through that they’re not overcooking, then carefully remove the weight, trays etc. You should have two golden, round, crispy yet flat discs.

Put those to one side and add the milk and haddock to a small pan. Bring to a simmer but then immediately take off the heat and allow to cool. Remove the haddock with a slotted spoon, set to one side and discard the milk.

Lay the tomato slices all around the puff pastry discs, filling in any gaps. Then dot the haddock pieces evenly all over the top before sprinkling with the grated cheddar.

Bake at 190C for 12 minutes or so - the cheese should be melted and starting to bubble.

Serve the tarts with a mound of salad inthe middle of each dressed with the balsamic, olive oil & chives.

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