Smoked haddock oatcake tart

This recipe features in the September/October edition of Hampshire Life magazine with wine matches from The knackered Mother’s Wine Club.

This tart is inspired by the flavours of an omelette Arnold Bennet, but instead of bechamel and hollandaise on an egg and haddock base, I’ve repurposed my smooth, custardy quiche filling.

I created the tart case when a coeliac friend challenged me to come up with a gluten-free pastry alternative . Rather than try to replicate a classic shortcrust, I’ve taken the opportunity to come up with something that’s delicious in its own right. Imagine a giant crispy oatcake and you’re on the right track! The recipe is loosely based on Nigella’s oatcake recipe from How to be a Domestic Goddess and you can use any off-cuts to make some bonus cheese crackers – just re-roll the trimmings and cut into circles or squares, then bake next to the tart cases.

I made two medium sized tarts so that I could gift one, but you could make a single larger tart or individual tartlets; just change the cooking time accordingly.

Smoked haddock oatcake tart

Makes 2 x 20 cm tarts

For the tart case:
  • 300 g gluten-free porridge oats
  • 25 g Old Winchester, finely grated
  • ¼ tsp bicarbonate of soda
  • 35 g butter, melted
For the filling:
  • 4 large eggs
  • 35 g butter
  • 1 large leek, quartered and thinly sliced
  • 100 g spinach
  • 250 g smoked haddock
  • 300 ml crème fraiche
  • 2 tsp Dijon mustard
  1. Preheat the oven to 200°C (180 fan) / gas 6.
  2. Pulse the oats in a food processor with the cheese, bicarb and a pinch of salt and pepper until you have a coarse flour. Tip it into a bowl, then stir in the butter and enough water from a recently boiled kettle to form a dough.
  3. Roll out half the dough on a clean worksurface. Slide a palette knife underneath to release it, then transfer to a 20 cm round tin and press it into the edges. Cut off the overhang and use it to patch up any holes. Don’t be put off if it seems a bit crumbly, it will work out in the end! Repeat with the other half of the dough in a second tin.
  4. Bake the cases for 15 minutes or until firm and cooked through underneath. Gently beat the eggs for the filling in a mixing bowl, then use a pastry brush to paint a thin layer on the inside of the tart cases. Return the cases to the oven for 4 minutes or until the egg has set, creating a waterproof layer. Take them out of the oven and reduce the temperature to 150⁰C (130 fan) / gas 2.
  5. While the tart cases are cooking, heat the butter in a frying pan and fry the leek over a gentle heat for 10 minutes or until soft and sweet. Leave to cool.
  6. Bring a saucepan of water to the boil, then blanch the spinach for 1 minute. Scoop it out with a slotted spoon and plunge into iced water to cool. Put the haddock in the spinach cooking water, then cover the pan, turn off the heat and leave to stand for 10 minutes.
  7. Drain the spinach in a sieve, then squeeze out all of the water, blot dry on kitchen paper and chop it roughly. When the time is up on the haddock, drain well, remove any skin and bones and break into large flakes.
  8. Add the crème fraiche and mustard to the rest of the beaten egg and whisk to combine. Fold in the haddock, spinach and buttery leeks, then divide between the two tart cases and level the tops.
  9. Bake the tarts for 35 – 45 minutes or until the filling is only just set with a bit of a wobble in the centre. If it starts to bubble up at any point, reduce the oven temperature. Serve warm or at room temperature.

Featured Hampshire producers

Smoked haddock – Peter Atkinson’s Any Fish – Bishops Waltham, 01489 896111

Spinach & leeks – T & V Vegetable Gardens – Alton, 07523 644245

Eggs – Vale Farm Free Range Eggs – Winchester, 07530 168972

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