Asparagus & Oven Dried Tomato Tart

Asparagus & Tomato Tarte smallEditor’s Note*
Apologies for the photograph that goes with this recipe.   My new camera seems to have developed a problem making those shots unusable. Thankfully, I had already taken a few practice snaps shots with my family camera.

In my own local area of Worcestershire, we are in the last few days of the Asparagus season and I didn’t want the season to finish before posting at least one recipe.

Oven Dried Tomatoes:
If you never tried oven drying tomatoes you really must…it concentrates the natural flavours and makes any dish something very special.  Yes I know it takes a while but unlike me, they are very low maintenance and are hard to mess up because they are cooked at such a low temperature.

This recipe will make enough for 6-8 portions.

1 x 12inch (30 cm approx) Ceramic flan-case

8oz Plain Flour
4 oz unsalted Butter
1.5 oz fresh grated parmesan cheese
1 med egg + 1 egg yolk
1 teaspoon ice water

Tart mix and salad garnish
8-10 large vine ripe tomatoes
1 1/2 bunches of local Asparagus
125ml milk
250ml Double Cream
3 medium eggs + 2 extra yolks
Olive oil
2 little gem lettuce
1 bag of rocket leaves

  1. First, cut the tomatoes into quarters (wedges) and lay on a wire rack and place the wire rack onto a non-stick cookie baking tray.  Drizzle lightly with olive oil and season with salt and black pepper. Dry in a fan assisted oven for 4-5 hours* at 110 c. Dry the tomatoes on the middle shelf. Turn the tomatoes over once or twice during the slow cooking process. the salt not only adds flavour but helps to draw out the moisture.
  2. In the meantime make the pastry. Gently rub the flour and butter together until you have a fine crumb mix. Sift in the grated cheese then add the egg, egg yolk, ice water and gently bring the pastry together.  Wrap in cling film and refrigerate for 1 hour.
  3. Next prepare the asparagus by trimming off the bottom 2 inches (and save and freeze until you have enough for soup).
  4. Blanch the asparagus spears in boiling salted water for just 1-2 minutes (depending on how thick the spears are).   Cool down immediately in cold water then drain once they are cool and reserve.
  5. Roll out the pastry (on a lightly floured surface) until it is 4mm thick.
  6. Roll the pastry gently back onto the rolling-pin and line your (buttered) flan case. Trim off the excess edges and crimp the pastry edge if you wish.  Use a fork and make holes in the pastry base then line with a baking parchment and baking beans to weigh the pastry down.
  7. Blind bake the pastry case in a preheated oven at 190 C for 15 minutes.  Remove the baking beans and parchment and bake for another 5 minutes or until the pastry is a light straw colour.  Remove from the oven and allow to cool.
  8. Reset the oven to 160 C
  9. Whisk the filling (eggs, yolks, milk and cream) in a large bowl and season with salt and pepper.
  10. Arrange 8-10 dried tomato wedges around the cooled pastry base.  Trim half of the asparagus and arrange in a decorative design in your pastry base.
  11. Gently ladle in egg mix in and the place the tart into the centre of the oven once the temperature has fallen to 160 C. Bake in the oven until the egg mix is set and slightly coloured. Allow to cool for 30 minutes before slicing.
  12. In the meantime wash and toss salad leaves and add the remaining oven-dried tomatoes and asparagus and arrange on the plates.

Chef’s Tips
If you wish you can reduce some balsamic vinegar until it is syrupy and drizzle across your warm portioned tart. The balsamic vinegar adds a nice acidic contrast to the sweetness of the tomatoes.  A good fruity chilled blush wine would be great with this dish*How long the tomatoes take to dry depends on how large they are so you need to check them from time to time. Remember that you are dehydrating them not roasting them, and this intensifies the flavour.


British Asparagus

©Kevin Ashton 2009-2017
No recipes or photos to be reproduced without my express written permission


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