I haven’t made a savoury crumble for at least 15 years, probably longer. But for some reason, it was exactly what I fancied. Perhaps it’s the nip in the air that signals autumn is on its way? Perhaps the shorter evenings? Whatever it was, a creamy, smoky filling topped with crisp, golden, savoury crumbs was called for. Mmmm.
I’ve always thought of savoury crumble as being vaguely retro, although I’ve never quite pinned down which era it belongs to. Any ideas? It seems like it should fall into the wholesome herby whole-food category of the late-60s/early-70s, but I’m sure I never actually ate one until at least the 1980s. Poor thing, the savoury crumble just never seemed to fit in.
DH muttered something about, “cheesy porridge” which might give some indication of the savoury crumble’s PR problem. Everyone loves an apple crumble, or a rhubarb crumble, but when you take away the sugar and put the crumbs on top of vegetables or fish (or both, as here) then you often get funny looks. Don’t be put off though. Savoury crumble is delicious! (Just don’t serve it with custard…)
Kipper, who is unaffected by the cultural baggage that surrounds the savoury crumble, was bouncing about, squealing unintelligibly while this was in the oven. Once I’d persuaded her to calm down and speak in a (more) normal voice, it turned out she was excited about how yummy the dinner smelled as it was cooking 🙂
And it didn’t disappoint. Even DH cleared his plate and made approving noises. I hope I have won over another supporter to the cause of savoury crumble. I must make another one soon, to check…
This made enough for the three of us and a small portion left over for my lunch the next day (lucky me). I’d say serves 3-4.
- 2 leeks
- 150g spinach
- 20g butter
- 20g flour
- 100ml milk
- 150ml double cream
- 200g smoked mackerel (approx 3 fillets)
- 50g butter
- 60g plain flour
- 40g rolled oats
- 35g grated parmesan (or similar hard cheese)
- 2 tsp dried thyme
- Trim the leeks, wash, and cut into 8-10mm slices. Wash and spin the spinach, remove the stems, and shred the leaves.
- Melt the butter in a large pan over a medium heat. Saute the leeks for 5 minutes until soft. Add the spinach, cover and allow to wilt. Mix with the leeks.
- Sprinkle over the flour and stir to combine. Gradually stir in the milk, followed by the cream, and mix well. Bring to a simmer and allow the sauce to thicken. Remove from the heat.
- Remove the skin from the smoked mackerel and flake into large pieces. Stir the mackerel pieces into the leek/spinach mixture. Transfer to a baking dish.
- In a food processor, whizz the butter, flour, and half the oats to give coarse crumbs.
- Add the remaining oats, the cheese and the thyme and pulse to just combine.
- Spread the crumble topping evenly over the filling, and bake at 190C for around 25 minutes until golden brown and bubbling. Serve at once.
- I used peppered smoked mackerel which was delicious, but you can use plain if you prefer.