We have been treated to the emergence of some amazing black puddings in Ireland over the last few years, a modern revival championing one of our real national treasures. You need fresh blood for a black pudding of integrity. And a good one goes remarkably well with fish. For black pudding doubters, the mash is a grand introduction.
- 4 sole, filleted
- 1 small bunch tarragon, chopped
- 4 tablespoons white wine or vermouth
- 300ml double cream
- 450g main crop potatoes, peeled
- 2-3 tablespoons milk or cream
- 50g butter
- 200g black pudding, cubed
- Take each sole fillet, skin-side down, and season with salt, pepper. Sprinkle with tarragon and oil. Roll up from the tail end, and place seam side down in a baking dish.
- Season again with salt and pepper. Pour over the wine and cover the dish with foil. Cook for seven minutes in a hot oven at 200ºC/gas mark 6 until the outside of the fillets are cooked and the juices from the fish have started to run.
- Pour the juices out of the dish and into a saucepan and boil them down until they have reduced by half. Add the cream and continue boiling for a couple of minutes until the sauce has thickened.
- Pour this sauce back over the fillets. At this stage you can either put the fillets back in the oven to finish cooking for a couple of minutes, or you can chill the dish for up to 24 hours, then bring it back to room temperature before cooking for slightly longer (10 – 15 minutes) to heat through.
- For the mash, cut the potatoes into large, evensized pieces. Boil in plenty of salted water until tender, about 15-20 minutes. Drain well and return to the hot pan.
- Add the milk or cream and using a masher, hand-held whisk or electric hand-held whisk, mash the potatoes. A masher will give a rougher texture than an electric whisk but this is a matter of taste. Add the butter and continue to beat until the mixture is fluffy. Season to taste with sea salt and freshly ground black pepper.
- Gently sauté the black pudding in a dry frying pan over a moderate heat until just crispy on the outside (about five minutes). Stir into the mash and check seasoning.
Tip: You can cook and mash potato and then hold for an hour or so in the fridge. After that it will oxidise and discolour. Cover with clingfilm – the mash, not the pot, you want as little air as possible in contact with the potato.
Photography credit:Harry Weir