Blue skies and birds tweeting woke me at 5am this morning. Too nice to stay in bed so pottered in garden, planting more lavender, deadheading the scabious, and repotting the scented pelargonium. By 8am I had a batch of banana muffins cooling and my thoughts were turning to savoury items. I’m going away next week, so am determined to do no shopping this week if I can at all help it – so I’m using up the fresh fridge contents with a little assistance from the freezer & pantry. I’ve got some lovely undyed smoked haddock, spring onions and a bunch of chives. As it’s such a nice day, I think it’s going to be a smoked haddock and chive tart, to be served with salad.
Smoked Haddock & Chive Tart
220g plain flour
pinch of salt
300g undyed smoked haddock
3 spring onions
bunch of chives, chopped
2 free range eggs
125ml cream/ crème fraiche/ mascarpone
First make the pastry. Sift flour and salt into a large bowl. Add the lard and butter, cut into smallish lumps, and using a knife, cut this into the flour until it looks well blended. Then begin to rub the fat into the flour, using only your fingertips, to keep it as light as possible. Sprinkle in 2 tbsp of cold water, then use the knife to bring the pastry together. Remove knife, and lightly bring the dough together using your fingertips to form a ball. The bowl should be fairly clean, if there’s still flour/ fat mixture not incorporated, add a touch more water and lightly knead together. Cover in cling film and leave in the fridge to rest for 30 minutes. Alternative method – using a food processor – sift flour and salt as before, add fats and pulse together til the mixture resembles crumbs. Slowly add water, with blade running until it forms a ball. Do not over mix.
Filling: Cut haddock into pieces to fit flat into a shallow pan. Pour over milk and bring slowly to a simmer. Switch off heat and cover. Leave for 5 minutes. Take fish out, reserving milk, and flake into a bowl. Add chopped chives and sliced spring onions and season with pepper. Add cream/ crème fraiche or mascarpone. Stir well. (No salt needed, as the haddock is quite salty.)
Heat oven to 200C. Take pastry out of fridge and roll out to fit a 10 inch or 25cm quiche tin. Prick base with a fork and line with greaseproof paper and fill with dried peas or baking beans. Place in oven and bake for 20 minutes. Remove paper and beans and let it cool. Reduce oven temperature to 160C. Spread the fish & chive mixture over the bottom of the pastry lined tin. Mix the reserved milk with 2 eggs and pour into the tin. Bake for 25 minutes until golden brown and firm.