Tuesday, 11 October 2011

A brunchy supper of black pudding on wilted rocket

The last couple of weeks I've had the decorators in - not a euphemism - as I'm moving house shortly. An ex of mine - Leeds Lad - did the necessaries with tins of paint by day, then crashed on my sofa at night. This meant I was cooking for two rather than one most nights - a great opportunity to roast vast slabs of pork and lamb, make huge pots of soup and even a giant lasagne (half of which ended up in my freezer in portions). We also succumbed to takeaway curries and a trip to an Italian restaurant.

Normal life has resumed now and I'm back to pottering in my galley kitchen, juggling small portions for me alone. My "Sunday roast for one" plans fell apart when I realised I wasn't very hungry. I roasted the chicken drumsticks I'd left marinating all day in a pineapple and chilli sauce purchased from my local foodie market and ate them on their own in front of the TV - sticky, spicy and the perfect accompaniment to Downton Abbey.

Still short on appetite, Monday supper was always going to be brunchy in style. And with the move looming I'm also trying to use up things in the fridge. I have a borderline obsession with black pudding, so this formed the centrepiece of my TV dinner. I also made some French-style sautéed potatoes and grilled a tomato to accompany.

What you need:
2 big slices of black pudding
A bag of rocket, rinsed and well drained
A handful of new or salad potatoes, scrubbed and cut into chunks
1 big clove of garlic
Duck fat
A large tomato

What to do:
Heat half a dessert spoonful of duck fat in a sauteuse and when it starts to just smoke, toss in the potatoes, stir them around so they are completely coated in the duck fat and turn the heat down to moderate. Let them fry gently until they start to take on a golden colour and crisp up around the edges (if you have leftover boiled potatoes, these work well too). This takes about 20 minutes.

After 10 mins put a dry frying pan on the stove and get it hot. Fry the black pudding about 4-5 minutes each side. It shouldn't need any fat as black pudding usually has plenty of its own. Heat the grill, halve the tomato and pop it under. Peel and crush the garlic clove and add to the potatoes a few minutes before they are ready. Season with salt and pepper.

When the potatoes are done, scoop them out of the sauteuse with a slotted slice and pile on the side of the plate. Leave the pan on the heat and toss the rocket in the leftover duck fat for a minute until it's wilted.

Make a bed of the rocket in the middle of the plate, put the black pudding slices on top and pop a grilled tomato on each side.

Cook's tips:
Can't find rocket? Use spinach instead, which is the traditional brasserie accompaniment to black pudding served brunch-style.

If you're extra hungry, top the black pudding with a poached or fried egg.

Duck fat is hard to find, unless you have a good family butcher near to you - most supermarkets sell goose fat, though, which is just as good. Both are excellent for sautéeing or roasting potatoes. I save the duck fat every time I cook a breast or roast a pair of legs, to keep my jar topped up - it keeps almost indefinitely in the fridge. Another good source is tins of confit de canard, which you can find in good delis or pretty much any supermarket if you're on a day trip to France.