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Smoked haddock tartlet with hot steamed mussels

Posted by Nigel Brown
Nigel Brown
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on Thursday, 09 February 2012

We are all in need of a treat from time to time.

You can indulge your creative side with this recipe - it is fun rather than fiddly and the end product is certainly worth the effort. Whip up for yourself, or impress others with your culinary flair. Either way, take the time to spoil yourself - you deserve it.

Serves 4-6

175 g (6 oz) plain shortcrust pastry
2 tablespoons chopped fresh parsley
450 g (1 lb) smoked haddock fillets
150 ml (1/4 pint) milk
a few black peppercorns
3 bay leaves
a few sprigs of fresh parsley
55 g (2 oz) butter
2 onions, finely chopped
3 tablespoons cucumber, chopped
1 tablespoon chopped fresh chives
2 tablespoons plain flour
175 ml (6 fl oz) single cream
salt and freshly ground black pepper
115 g (4 oz) Cheddar cheese

1. Roll the pastry out on a lightly floured surface sprinkled with 1 tablespoon chopped parsley and use to line a shallow 23cm (9 in) tart tin.

2. Pre-bake or bake blind. Pre-heat the oven to 190°C (375°F) Gas 5.

3. Place the haddock fillets in a wide-bottomed frying pan with a lid. Cover with the milk and add the peppercorns, bay leaves and sprigs of parsley. Bring gently to the boil with the lid on, then turn the heat off and leave the pan for 5 - 10 minutes.

4. Take the haddock fillets out of the pan using a slotted spoon, reserve the liquid, then break up the fish into small flakes, being sure to remove and discard any bones. Set aside.

5. Melt the butter in a separate frying pan, add the onions and fry for about 10 minutes or until quite soft, stirring occasionally. Add the cucumber, remaining parsley and chives, stir in the flour and cook for 2 minutes.

6. Strain the reserved liquid from cooking the fish. Gradually stir the strained fish liquid and cream into the onion mixture and continue stirring over a low heat until the sauce thickens. Add salt and pepper to taste, then add the cheese, reserving a handful for the top. Add the flaked fish and then transfer it all into the pre-baked pastry case. Sprinkle the tart with the reserved cheese.

7. Bake in the oven for 30 minutes or until the tart looks risen and brown.

Serve with hot steamed mussels and a salad dressing with mixed leaves and lemon wedges.

Recommended salad dressing:

Half a bunch of fresh chopped parsley
Salt and pepper to taste
2 table spoons Womersley lemon, basil, bay and juniper vinegar
2 table spoons of Gold from the Wold Rapeseed oil

In a food processor blitz all the ingredients for 15 seconds.

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