Smoked Haddock Tart

This recipe comes from Michael Hartnell, the young executive chef at Le Caprice, the sister establishment of London's Le Caprice, possibly one of the most difficult restaurants to get into in that city. The menus and the rooms are much the same, although the New York location is much more relaxed. I've adapted this recipe with ingredient suggestions you can find more easily. If you can't get smoked haddock, use smoked trout or hot smoked salmon. If you can't find quail eggs, use small regular eggs or omit. Wilt the spinach for this recipe in a skillet.

 

Velouté sauce:

3 tablespoons butter

3 tablespoons flour

1 cup chicken stock

1/2 teaspoon dry mustard

Salt and freshly ground pepper

Hollandaise sauce:

2 egg yolks

1/2 cup butter

1 tablespoon lemon juice

Salt and pepper to taste

Filling:

4 ounces (125 grams) smoked haddock or hot smoked salmon

4 cups packed baby spinach, wilted and squeezed of excess liquid

4 4-inch prebaked puff pastry tartlet shells

4 poached quail eggs

 

Combine butter and flour in a small pot over medium heat and cook for 3 minutes or until lightly browned. Whisk in stock, bring to a boil and boil for 1 minute or until thickened. Whisk in mustard and season with salt to taste.

Place egg yolks in a blender and whirl until combined. Combine butter and lemon juice in a small pot over medium heat and heat until melted and uniform. Turn on blender and pour hot liquid into egg yolks in a slow steady stream until fully incorporated. It will thicken. Season with salt and pepper to taste.

Preheat oven to 400 F.

Combine velouté, 1/4 cup hollandaise, smoked haddock and spinach and place a thin layer of mixture inside each of the prebaked tartlet shells. Top with a poached egg, and then fill up tart shell with remaining haddock mixture to conceal egg. Pour 1 tablespoon hollandaise over top of each tartlet. Bake for 6 to 8 minutes or until filling is hot and top starts to brown. Serve hot. Serves 4

To prebake tartlets, buy frozen butter puff pastry and cut out four 6-inch circles. Fit pastry circles into 4-inch tartlets shells or large muffin cups. Prick the base and the sides and bake for 10 to 12 minutes at 400 F.

To poach eggs: Simmer eggs in a pan of water for 2 minutes if quail eggs, 3 minutes if regular - they should be runny as they will bake again.