White Asparagus and Broccoli Tart
Got some white asparagus from the Co-op this week. I'd never worked with it before and figured I'd make something special. The tedious part is peeling the tough skin from the stems. A time consuming, but very, very tasty creation!
1-1/3 cup AP flour
3 Tbsp Sugar
1/2 tsp Salt
zest of a lemon or orange
1/2 cup (1 stick) Butter, cold, cut up
1 Egg Beaten
1 tsp Vanilla, Lemon or Orange extract
Whisk together first 5 ingredients. Cut in the butter to 'coarse meal'. Add egg and extract and stir with a fork to combine.
Turn out onto a lightly floured surface. Divide into 4 piles. Smear each pile once or twice with the palm of your hand to incorporate the butter. Gather the piles together and form into a 5" or 6" disk. Wrap in cling film and store in the fridge at least 30 minutes.
1 lb White Asparagus, peeled and trimmed 1/2 off the butts
1 head of Broccoli, rinsed, broken into small florettes (about 2 cups), and dried
1 Tbsp Butter
Salt & Pepper to taste
1-1/3 cups Half & Half or Heavy Cream
3 Eggs, beaten
2 tsp Rosemary
Cook the asparagus in boiling salted water until just tender - 5-8 minutes. Transfer to chilled/iced water to stop the cooking. Drain and pat dry. Cut off and reserve the tips, then slice stems into 1" logs.
Preheat oven to 375F. While that's going on:
Heat butter in a skillet and saute the broccoli for 2-3 minutes, then add the asparagus logs. Salt & pepper to taste. Remove from the heat.
Whisk together the eggs, dairy and rosemary.
Roll the crust out on wax or parchment paper to fit your 11" tart pan. Transfer crust and trim to fit. Spread asparagus/broccoli mix in the uncooked shell, then pour the egg/dairy mix over.
Bake 20 minutes. Spread the reserved asparagus tips on top. Bake another 30 minutes, until custard is golden but still wobbly in center. Cool 30 minutes before slicing and serving.
This is a great dish! The crust has become my new favorite tart crust. But I have to say that all the hype is about the color, not the taste.
White asaparagus, as far as my taste buds can tell, is pretty blah... I think this dish, done with regular asparagus, would be much tastier. The peeling technique would help you use the whole of the stems, instead of throwing away the butts.
Asparagus Tart Too
Earlier in the week I made a different savory tart with ordinary asparagus and sundried tomato bits on a new (to me) Pillsbury pre-made crust. There are two varieties -- a 12" round regular crust and a 10x13 thin crust. This time I used the 10x13 crust.
Slices of goat cheese, diced sundried tomato bits, and par-cooked asparagus cut into 1" lengths.
White Bean & Dumpling Soup
I borrowed this recipe from a Sara Moulton article in the Sunday paper last week. Up north folks are still freezing, and this recipe will help you fight the chill.
2 cups fresh breadcrumbs
2 oz fresh Parmesan cheese
2 Tbsp Sage
2 Tbsp EVOO
1/2 cup diced Onion
1 cup diced Carrot
1-1/2 cups diced Fennel
2 tsp minced Garlic
2 cups cooked White Beans rinsed & drained; canned or cooked from dry
4 cups Broth or water
8 oz chopped Kale, Spinach or combination of greens of choice
1 Tbsp Lemon Juice or to taste
Salt & Pepper to taste
Beat the eggs; stir in the breadcrumbs and sage. Chill 30 minutes, then roll into 12 dumpling balls.
In your pot, cook the carrot, fennel, onion over medium heat, stirring, until lightly browned -- 12-15 minutes. Add the garlic.
Now add the beans and broth to the pot. Bring to a boil and reduce to a simmer -- cook 15 minutes. Add the dumplings and simmer, covered, another 10 minutes.
Transfer 2 cups of solids (but not the dumplings), and a little liquid to a food processor, and whirrrr until smooth. Return to the pot, add the greens and simmer until the greens wilt. Add the lemon juice and salt & pepper to taste.
Ladle into bowls, with 2-3 dumplings per serving.
Thick, rich and filling. Very tasty. This'll warm the cockles...!
Besan is a fancy name for chickpea flour, especially if you find it in an Indian or Middle Eastern market. The same chickpea flour you can use to make the Falafal I talked about last week, instead of grinding up chickpeas you spend all day (seemingly) cooking! Besan is also good for making a variety of flatbreads or griddlebreads which are not baked. These flatbread, because of the baking soda and baking powder, have the consistency and look of an American pancake. Perfect for wrapping around a spicy sausage for a quick lunch.
1 cup Besan
1 cup Water
1 tsp Baking Soda
1 tsp Baking Powder
Pinch of Salt
Optional additions like sesame seeds, spices like cumin or ras al hanut, etc...
Mix everything together and let it rest at least 5 minutes before cooking. Use a lightly oiled griddle or a non-stick pan on medium high for cooking.
Ladle the mixture onto the surface and let it like a pancake until the bottom is golden and bubbles in the surface stay broken. Flip and cook for another minute.
Sally's Chopped Salad
It's been quite awhile since I made this; maybe 2 years. Sally loves this for her lunch, with a little dressing to pour over. If you don't have a SaladMastertm machine like we do, you can still make this salad with just a knife and a cutting board, or the big side of a box grater. But the SaladMaster makes this so much faster. Amounts of each veg vary depending on how much total salad you want to make. Experiment to find ratios of this veg to that which you prefer. Have fun.
These are my more or less standard ingredients, all raw, not cooked:
Red Bell Pepper
Wash the veggies. Chop, large-grate, or dice everything, and toss to combine.
Serve with a dressing -- I like Bleu Cheese or Ranch, Sally prefers a Raspberry or Mango Vinaigrette.
New Shakshuka Presentation
For Valentine's Day I got these beautiful matching wooden trivets -- perfect to present my mini-skillet Shakshuka, which the guests on Sunday requested. Each 5" cast-iron skillet holds half a cup of the tomato base, plus the egg cracked on top and poached.