Morcilla is a type of Spanish black pudding. It’s rich and vinous, with almost a smoky edge, and has a dryer, finer grain than a British black pudding.
My friend Dave handed me some last week, with the instruction that although it makes a sensational tapas-ish snack, I’d be doing myself a disservice not to make it into an Alsace tart. He also recommends frying it with broad beans and garlic, which I will be doing at the next available opportunity.
In the end, this was more like a light quiche lorraine, but bloody hell it was good.
I make a lot of quiches and tarts, partly because my lactose-intolerant boyfriend loves them, and often requests versions that work around the dairy problems. But also because they’re rich and comforting, and actually pretty hard to mess up.
This one is no different, but it does benefit from getting the pastry nice and flaky. I reckon it’ll serve 4 or so.
- Pastry – shortcrust, probably about 200g, and heavy on the butter
- Morcilla, a decent length of the stuff. 1-2 of the sausages.
- 3 large-ish onions
- Crème fraiche, about 150g
- 2 eggs
- Flat leaf parsley, a handful
- Pepper, and smoked salt if you have it
- Nutmeg, a little
Make or buy the pastry, and roll it out to fit a greased tin. I made mine, heavy on the butter, and trying to knead it out a bit between cooling cycles to try and get some of that flaky layered structure.
Finely slice the onions, and gently fry them in butter on a low heat, probably covered, until well soft and starting to brown. This probably takes about 20 minutes.
Dice the morcilla and chop the parsley fine. When the onions are nearly done, add the morcilla and parsley, and let it all fry together for a minute or two. Take it off the heat and let it cool. Don’t let the morcilla break up too much.
Beat together the crème fraiche, one whole egg, and the yolk of the other. Save the white to brush the pastry. Season with pepper, nutmeg, and a little smoked salt if you have it. Smoked salt and morcilla are borderline erotic together.
Blind bake the pastry if that’s your style. I normally don’t, and tend to get away with it. Although this time it bit me on the arse, and I got some collapse and misshaping.
Fill it with the morcilla and onion mix, and the liquid filling. Brush the pastry with the whisked egg white, and bake the tart in a hot oven (180c or so) for 20-30 minutes, or until well set and golden.
What you get is something indulgently creamy with a deep richness. The morcilla has an almost fermented edge, with hints of smoke, and it works through the whole flavour of the tart. This is underlined with a faint sweetness if the onions start to caramelise.
The fact that it’s crème fraiche, and skewed to egg yolks, means it’s not quiche-y. There’s no eggyness, and it’s quite light and moist, which lets the morcilla really do the work.
On balance, I’d say a more authentically Alsace-style tarte flambée would probably work a little better; you’d get some crisping to the morcilla, for a start. But the way the flavours blend through here make it a delight. Although perhaps not an everyday one.