I’m not sure why eating cooked blood seems so gross. Is it really any different than a meal of muscle and fat? Especially when that muscle and fat is grilled rare. Or how does it compare to a microwaved, store-bought hot dog, which is like ingesting running shoes and ground chicken beaks. But blood reminds people of scraped knees and crusty scabs and eating it seems a bit vampire/Silence of the Lambs. That is until you try it, as I did the other night.
I was at The Grove, a new Toronto restaurant that serves modern British comfort food. The menu had an app with Black Pudding, which didn’t mean anything to me or my dinner mate, so I looked it up on my iPhone. Despite a wiki entry revealing what it was with a photo of something that looked like a giant, swollen, human intestine, we decided to order the dish to share. Something new, I guess, but I was also half way through a potent negroni and was feeling more relaxed than normal.
The pudding (made of pigs blood and rendered pigs fat) came dotted on a plate with fresh peas, a poached egg (cooked sous vide) and a lemon-butter foam. It looked like crumbled bits of rye bread and, on first bite, had a toasted, somewhat crusty texture, but then it melted on my tongue and felt very creamy. The taste was like a mild, mineral-rich sausage, or a bit like sauteed chicken livers (which I love). It was rich — especially with the lemon butter and egg — but was nicely balanced by the clean flavour of the peas.
I’m not sure I would make black pudding a regular dining experience, but I would definitely order it again in the future.