Smoked haddock tartlets with poached eggs & chives
- Preparation and cooking time
- Plus cooling
- More effort
- Serves 4
Gordon Ramsay's step-by-step guide to creating elegant prepare-ahead tartlets
For the cheese sauce
- STEP 1
Heat oven to 200C/180C fan/ gas 6. Divide the pastry into 4, thinly roll out each piece, then cut out 4 circles big enough to line 4 x 12-14cm tartlet tins. Press the pastry into the sides of the tin and trim the edges with a knife. Place in the fridge to cool for 10 mins, then prick the base and line each tartlet with baking parchment and baking beans. Bake for 15 mins on a baking sheet, remove the beans and paper, cook for 10 mins more until golden, then remove from the oven.
- STEP 2
While the pastry is cooking, place the haddock in a medium saucepan with the milk. Season the milk with a little black pepper, place on the heat and bring to a steady boil. Turn off the heat, then set aside until cool enough to handle. Remove the fish from the milk and strain the milk into a jug.
- STEP 3
To make the sauce, wipe out the haddock pan and place back on the heat with the butter. When the butter has melted and is starting to sizzle, stir in the flour and cook until combined to a sandy consistency. Gradually stir in the poaching milk, stirring well after each addition, then gently simmer over a low heat for 5 mins until you have a smooth white sauce. Take the sauce off the heat, then stir in the gruyère.
- STEP 4
Break the haddock into large flakes into a bowl and discard the skin and any bones. Tip the egg yolks and mustard in with the haddock, then stir in the cheese sauce.
- STEP 5
Divide the filling between the tartlet cases, then bake for 20 mins until the filling is puffed up and golden brown like cheese on toast. Leave the tarts to cool slightly while you get the rest of the ingredients ready.
- STEP 6
To serve, poach 4 eggs (see video link, above). Gently melt the butter in a small saucepan, then add the chives. At the last minute, lightly toss the spinach leaves with a drizzle of oil and a sprinkling of coarse sea salt, then you’re ready to plate up.
- STEP 7
To plate up like a professional, overlap the spinach leaves around the plate in a petal formation. Sit the tartlet on top of the spinach in the middle of the plate. Gently place a poached egg in the centre of each tartlet. Spoon some chive butter over each egg and serve straight away.
The filling can be made a day ahead and chilled. The tart cases can be baked the day before and kept in an airtight container or in cling film. The eggs can be poached ahead and chilled in iced water, then kept in the fridge in a single layer on kitchen paper. To reheat, place the eggs in a pan of barely simmering water for 1 min. The tarts can be made several hours ahead and eaten at room temperature. Don't store in the fridge, or the pastry will go soggy.
Make sure the eggs are as fresh as possible, because this means the whites will be thicker and won’t spread during cooking. Before topping the tartlets with the eggs, sit the eggs on a piece of kitchen paper for a moment to drain off any water - you don’t want to ruin the tartlets by wetting them with eggy water.