Smoked haddock Florentine tart

PUBLISHED: 05:11 20 April 2015

Smoked haddock and spinach tart. 
Photo:Sonya Duncan

Smoked haddock and spinach tart. Photo:Sonya Duncan

ARCHANT NORFOLK PHOTOGRAPHIC © 2010

If you have an Aga you have the advantage of not having to bake pastry blind, by cooking quiches and tarts on the floor of the roasting oven, so the pastry cooks through at the same time as the filling.This principle also works in a conventional cooker, saving cooking time and also the messing around with baking beans and grease proof paper!

Heat a heavy flat baking tray in the oven until it is piping hot. It does have to be a thick one so it holds the heat and doesn’t buckle.Then sit the quiche on top of the hot baking tray in the oven and bake as you normally would.

350g un-dyed smoked haddock

1 bay leaf

300ml milk

40g butter

1 banana shallot/medium onion, finely diced

1 240g bag of spinach

3 medium free-range eggs

300ml double cream

85g Gruyère cheese (or any mild cheese)

½ tsp grainy mustard

Freshly ground pepper

Grease a 25cm/10in loose bottom flan tin

1 Preheat the oven to 200°C/400°F/Gas Mark 6. In an Aga, cook on the floor of the roasting oven, using the cold shelf on the first set of runners if the quiche browns too quickly.

2 Make the pastry following the short crust pastry recipe.

3 Place the smoked haddock in a pan with the bay leaf, pour over the milk and poach gently for about five minutes, until the fish is just cooked.

4 Once it’s cooked, remove from the pan to cool and reserve the milk.When the fish is cool enough to handle, flake it into small pieces, removing any bones.

5 Melt the butter in a frying pan over a moderate heat and soften the shallot, taking care it doesn’t catch.

6 Wash the spinach and wilt in a dry pan. Strain through a colander lined with kitchen roll, pressing the spinach down firmly to remove all of the excess liquid (otherwise the pastry will go soggy).

7 Whisk the eggs in a large bowl. Add the cream and some of the reserved poaching milk (strain it first); you need approximately 600ml of liquid for this size quiche, season well with pepper and mix in the mustard.

8 Roll out the pastry and line the tin. Spread the shallots over the bottom, then add the spinach. Sprinkle over the cooked haddock, then the grated cheese and pour over the egg and cream mixture. Bake for 30 to 40 minutes until golden brown and the filling has set. Serve warm with salad and crusty bread.

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