Our chef columnist Mark Hix on his enduring love for black pudding and the dish that made him fall in love with it

 
Mark Hix
BRITAIN-FOOD-OFFBEAT
Black pudding, looking as appetising as ever (Source: Getty)

I’ve been hooked on black pudding ever since it first passed my lips as a kid.

There was just something about it I loved, even though the blood pudding I grew up with probably contained way too much rusk or filler and not enough actual meat, which was cheap and low quality. Maybe it was the texture or the spice, or the fact that blood could be made into something so palatable.

In my adult life, I've become something of a blood pudding connoisseur and loathe the cheap, commercially-made stuff I first tried. I'm a big fan of the soft Spanish and French black pudding, which contains nothing whatsoever to bulk it out.

Many years ago, a friend of mine told me about a dish he had in Berlin called Himmel und Erde (which translates to heaven and earth).

He explained that the “heaven” was a very soft black pudding made from unpasteurised blood, served on the “earth”, a bed of crushed potato and apple, and I became even more excited about one of my favourite things.

I immediately got to work on it and had my friend, pig farmer Peter Gott, to knock some up for me. He knew exactly how to set about creating it as he is the master of all things pig, from sausages to brawn.

Since that day I've had this dish on my restaurant menus and it's one of the most popular starters.

Heaven aside, there are a hell of a lot of other things you can do with black pudding, from salads to stuffings, and it can also be served on toast, as below.

Morcilla on toast

SERVES 4

The Spanish have a couple of types of black pudding – the cured and dried version, which you can eat sliced like chorizo, or the soft, fresh one.

The air-dried type is a great snack that you can keep in the fridge to slice away at; or alternatively, you can serve it on toast like this with some tasty small salad leaves or some grated or shredded apple.

Ingredients

  • 4 slices of sourdough
  • A clove of garlic, peeled
  • 150g or so of air-dried morcilla,
  • thinly sliced
  • 1-2 tbsp extra virgin olive oil

Method

Toast the sourdough bread, then drizzle on a little olive oil; rub with the peeled garlic cloves, arrange the morcilla and leaves on the bread, season and spoon over a little olive oil.

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