The accepted movie tradition, in old Hollywood Westerns, simplified the distinction between good and bad by the colour of the hats worn by the main protagonists. Villains wore cool black hats and heroes wore white. To my young mind the villains were infinitely more interesting than the anaemic upholders of the law who compounded their blandness with purgatorial bouts of singing and, on occasion, girl kissing. Today’s movie morality is more equivocal, but earlier traditions still apply in the world of sausages, particularly when applied to boudins. A blood soaked boudin noir evinces all of the perverse appeal that attracts us to the man in the black hat whilst pallid boudin blanc brings clear meaning to Augustine’s prayer for purity, but without immediate effect. Jenny’s feelings about red meat and peaceful living dictate that neither blood filled sausages nor black hatted villains are permitted to cross our threshold. I am unequivocally in agreement with the exclusion of blood thirsty villains, but Jenny is adamant that both sausage and villain should be treated equally with the result that boudin apartheid has been declared. I may have a dream, but at the moment all I have is boudin blanc and I have come to like it quite well.
A pork sausage made with crème fraiche, egg white, egg yolks and seasoning is so far from the tradition of dark meaty sausages as to be unrecognisable as one of the same family. There is something of the quenelle in the appearance of the boudin blanc….a sort of unhealthy delicateness. I cooked my first two examples in some butter and oil, very slowly, in a frying pan, until they attained a deep caramel tan…and burst. Damaged goods as they were, they still tasted delicious eaten hot, and would have been even better with a creamy purée of potato and celeriac. They were particularly good served cold with mustard and good bread.
Today, I am without the internet which has reintroduced me to writing without the electronic aid of Google as Thesaurus and researcher. It’s been wonderful rummaging through my book shelves to find answers and names. Boudin blanc is not mentioned often and eventually I had to turn to my battered copy of Larousse to find some answers to the splitting of the skin. Pricking is certainly part of the answer, but Larousse suggests wrapping a piece of buttered grease proof paper around each boudin, and grilling them slowly. I love the idea of this performance and wonder how well it will work outside of the kitchen envisaged by the compilers of Larousse. I can almost smell the burning as I write….