Sometimes a particular dish becomes such an intrinsic part of mealtimes that its origin can be forgotten; thickly sliced, flavoursome tomatoes that have been laced with a fruity olive oil, a scattering of chives but the pièce de résistance is boudin noir (black pudding/blood sausage). Perhaps an unlikely combination on first reflection but, this works a treat and especially so with boudin noir that is so fresh that I am often asked by my local traiteur to return a little later which allows the sausage to cool sufficiently to be wrapped.


As a child from northern England, I recollect thick, fat studded discs of black pudding and memory suggests they weren’t terribly appealing. As a teenager, I grew fond of a finer variety with fatty grains that were so tiny that it was difficult to detect their presence at all.

Today, I almost salivate with anticipation at the merest hint of my local traieur’s boudin noir, the closest equivalent in France to British black pudding. It is kitchen fresh, fragrant and tender but be warned, this is a million miles away from the plastic-like pieces which are sold at the supermarket…

Every book and magazine extols the virtues of fine ingredients though this is especially true when a recipe has few components; each being carefully chosen for a particular purpose and so must be allowed to stand proud. Make time to research; find the best available produce which can dictate to buying less but in return, the superb quality makes this worthwhile.

Thickly slice several ripe, room temperature tomatoes before placing in a serving dish and sprinkling with a quality sea salt then a soft, fruity olive oil. Leave aside for the salt to draw the juices and the flavours to mingle.

Meanwhile, remove the casing from the boudin noir and roughly crumble. Heat a little oil in a heavy based frying pan to sauté the boudin for a few moments until it has blackened. Remove and drain on absorbent kitchen paper.

Snip a small bunch of fresh chives over the tomatoes, sprinkle over the boudin noir and serve at room temperature.