As could be guessed from previous posts I normally have a freezer full of black pudding and I’m always looking for new things to do with it; I knew I wanted to pair the sausage with apples so I took inspiration from the classic flavour combination present in a Waldorf Salad when deciding what else to include.
However, instead of celery I decided to use celeriac because it makes a wonderful puree; I find that if you roast it in the oven before blending you end up with a lovely smoky flavour. As a quite fibrous vegetable, you really need to use a blender (handheld or otherwise) here because a food processor or potato masher won’t give a smooth enough texture. What I normally do is add too much liquid to ensure the whole mixture passes over the blades as much as possible and then I pass the puree through a sieve before reducing to a thicker consistency in a saucepan.
The walnut sauce has what might be a familiar ingredient for anyone who does any gluten-free baking: xanthan gum. I’ve been looking for a place to try using this as a thickener for a while so I thought that instead of using a roux (which can be quite heavy) like I have the past few times I’ve cooked this recipe I’d experiment. The interesting thing about the texture of the sauce is it performs in a way similar to ketchup: staying solid like a puree on the plate and clinging to any other components but when you exert force on it with a knife or your tongue it behaves like a flowing liquid.
One thing to be wary of is you really only need a tiny amount of the gum to get the desired effect, for a thin sauce you’re looking at 0.4-0.7% of the weight of what you’re trying to thicken. It comes in fine powder which you can either whisk in (this method is prone to clumping) or use a blender to disperse. If you choose the latter dispersal method another caveat is xanthan gum also acts as a stabiliser so you can end up incorporating so much air you’re left with a foam that never subsides rather than a sauce; I found a few short pulses at five second intervals more than enough.
For the celeriac puree
150g peeled celeriac, roughly chopped
30g butter, cubed and chilled
For the walnut sauce
100g shelled walnuts
150ml warm water
100ml veal stock
0.5g xanthan gum
Fish sauce, splash
Sherry vinegar, splash
For the rest
1 apple, peeled and cored
4 shelled walnuts, finely chopped
12 1.5cm slices black pudding
- For the celeriac puree, preheat the oven to 200°C.
- Place a roasting tray with the lard into the oven and allow fat to heat up for around ten minutes.
- Add the celeriac to the pan and roast 20-25 minutes until golden all over. Shake the pan a few times to ensure even browning.
- Put the celeriac in a blender and add the milk and process to a smooth puree (add water to the mixture if mixture hasn’t enough liquid to blend properly)
- If the puree is too wet, put it in a pan over a medium heat and reduce until thicker. (Keep stirring to prevent burning).
- Take off the heat, and stir butter until fully incorporated and season to taste.
- For the walnut sauce, put the walnuts and the water in a blender and process till a fine paste.
- Pour the pulp into a filter or muslin cloth and squeeze out as much liquid as possible.
- Add the walnut milk, fish sauce and veal stock to a sauce pan and over a medium heat reduce until exactly 100g are left (weigh it on a scales).
- Put the reduction into a blender and add the xanthan gum.
- Pulse a couple of times until incorporated being careful not to foam the sauce.
- Add the sherry vinegar and correct the seasoning if needs be.
- Slice the apple in half and cut into eight 1cm slices.
- In a frying pan, melt 10g of butter over a medium heat until the foaming subsides.
- Fry the apple slices on each side until golden and beginning to caramelise. Reserve and keep warm.
- Wipe the frying pan clean and melt 10g of butter over a medium heat until the foaming subsides.
- Fry the pudding on both sides until crispy. Reserve and keep warm.
- Wipe the frying pan clean again and melt 5g of butter over a medium heat until the foaming subsides.
- Fry the walnuts in the butter until golden.
- To plate, place a dollop of reheated celeriac puree on three of the pieces of pudding and then top these with three other slices; place the pudding sandwiches at even spaces down the middle of the plate and put four slices of apples in between them; drizzle the reheated walnut sauce down either side of the pudding and apples; sprinkle over the chopped walnuts for garnish.