Thursday, 20 May 2010

Asparagus Tart

Just been on a lovely trip to the beach with Barney's class!  Thank you for taking me - I hadn't been to Birling Gap and it was beautiful!  The boys were all very pleasant to be with and very well-behaved.

As we were walking to the sea, I spied some sea kale, which I had read about but not recognised before.  While no-one was looking, I picked a handful and we ate it for tea this evening; more iron than Pop-eye could shake a stick at!  (Barney declared it poisonous and didn't eat any.... )  Jake and I thought it was lovely; a cross between spinach and curly kale.

Moving on (!), I cooked this tart last Friday, adapted from a recipe by Lucas Hollweg.  As I love to cook as much asparagus as possible during it's short season, I am always keen to try new ways to eat it.  It is very simple and very tasty.

Asparagus Tart

250g asparagus, ends snapped off
a knob of butter
2 leeks, thinly sliced and washed
1 clove of garlic, crushed
salt and pepper
1 packet of puff pastry
1 egg
100ml cream
50g parmesan cheese, grated
Some prociutto ham, torn

Heat the oven to 220 degrees/Gas Mark 7.  Par boil the asparagus in a pan of boiling water for 4 minutes.  Drain and cover with cold water for a few seconds to stop them cooking, then drain again.  Cook the leeks and garlic in a knob of butter until soft. 

Roll out the puff pastry into a recangle, about 40x15cm.  Score a  line around the edge without cutting through about 1 cm wide.  Bake for 5 minutes until a little raised.  Remove from the oven and press down the centre rectangle.  Mix the egg, cream, cheese and seasoning. 

Spread the leeks over the base of the tart, then pour in the cream mixture, making sure it doesn't spill.  Arrange the asparagus in lines on the cream and place the ham on top.
Cook for about 20 minutes until the pastry is golden.  Leave for a few minutes before eating!

A variation on the theme is Asparagus and Goat's Cheese Tart.

Use the same method, but instead of the cream mixture, us 250g goat's cheese, such as Chevre, thinly sliced and arrange over the pastry.  Top with the asparagus, brush the border with milk or beaten egg and bake for about 15 minutes.

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