Jackfruit is the fashionable meat replacement that is everywhere right now. It comes from the Far East, originally from India. The flesh of the young fruit is almost tasteless and resembles pulled pork or pulled chicken. It becomes sweeter as it matures, but it is the young tinned fruit that is readily available in supermarkets and mixed with the right spices it makes a great little canapé. This recipe uses one tin of jackfruit which will make about 50 canapés but if you don't need that many, the cooked jackfruit freezes perfectly. It would also be good as part of a tapas type starter.
I first tasted jackfruit at a local restaurant, Crockers, which is nearby to us in Tring. They have a chef's table upstairs and downstairs is a small restaurant that offers a wide selection of sharing plates. The jackfruit was one of the many sharing plates we tasted and it was completely delicious. Actually everything we ate was delicious, but that is a different story.
Ingredients - makes 25
3 brioche rolls
I x 400g tin jackfruit
1 tbsp vegetable oil
I small onion, finely chopped
1/2 tsp cumin seeds
1/2 tsp ground cinnamon
1/8 tsp hot smoked paprika
1 tbsp tomato ketchup
1 tsp Worcester sauce
2 tsp soft brown sugar
1/4 tsp smoked salt
1 x 230g tinned tomatoes (or half a 400g tin)
3 or 4 cocktail gherkins, sliced
Sesame seeds to sprinkle over - optional
Small bamboo sticks
For the brioche bases:
Heat oven to 180c (160c fan)
Cut the brioche rolls in half lengthways and cut circles out of each half (I used a small round cutter diameter 3 cms). Trim the circles if necessary to make them all about the same height. Brush the top and bottom of each brioche circle with a little olive oil and put on a baking sheet. Cook in the oven for 2 or 3 minutes. Keep and eye on them, they burn easily. They will keep several days in an airtight container with a silica gel pouch (see tips for more info)
For the pulled jackfruit:
Soften the chopped onion in the vegetable oil for a few minutes and then add the cumin seeds, paprika and cinnamon.
Rinse the jackfruit and cut out the cores where necessary. Add to the saucepan, together with the ketchup, Worcester sauce, sugar, salt and tinned tomatoes. Pour in 100 ml water and simmer for about 30 minutes with the saucepan lid on. Take the lid off and continue simmering until you have a sticky consistency. Cool and store until required or freeze.
To serve: this is fine served at room temperature. Spear each gherkin slice with a bamboo stick (this can be done ahead of time). Then put a small spoonful of the pulled jackfruit onto each brioche circle and hold this together with the prepared bamboo sticks. Sprinkle over some sesame seeds if using and serve.
Alternatively, if you prefer a warm canapé, spear the gherkin slices with the bamboo sticks and set aside. Put a small spoonful of pulled jackfruit onto each brioche and place on a baking sheet. Warm in a preheated oven (180c or 160c fan) for 3 minutes. Spear each brioche circle with the sticks, sprinkle over some sesame seeds if using and serve.
This isn't completely make ahead I agree, but the components are all pre-prepared and I felt jackfruit was something that had to be tried. I hope you will agree it is worth a few last minutes of prep.
Ps: the bobbly green background to the canapé picture is the outer skin of the jackfruit - odd isn't it?