Wednesday, 15 April 2015

Courgette, Asparagus and Bacon Tart

As we enter ‘asparagus season’ I wanted to share a very quick, easy and satisfying summer tart recipe that makes the most of the gorgeous long-stemmed vegetable.

It’s fresh, light and tasty and works with or without the bacon so can be a good offering for vegetarian friends or if you’re trying to stick to a meat-free day a week. Served with salad it is like a slice of summer on a plate. 

Here’s how:

Puff Pastry sheet
2 courgettes
Bunch of asparagus
100g crème fraiche
2 egg yolks (keep the egg whites to egg-wash pastry)
2 rashers of smoked bacon
Bunch of spring onions
1 clove garlic
25g Unsalted butter
100g Gruyere cheese
30g Parmesan
2 tbsp chopped fresh mint
1 tbsp chopped fresh flat leaf parsley
Salt & Pepper

Pop the oven on to 180⁰C and line a baking sheet with some baking parchment or greaseproof paper. 

Roll the pastry onto this to make the tart base, pierce all over with a fork and top with another sheet of greaseproof paper and a baking sheet to help keep the shape the same all round. Once the oven is hot, place pastry in for 20 minutes, remove from the oven, take off the baking sheet and greaseproof paper and return to the oven for five more minutes, until golden brown.

Chop the spring onions and bacon and crush the garlic and fry gently in some melted butter then remove from the heat.

In a bowl, combine the egg yolks, crème fraiche, and most of the grated Gruyere and Parmesan – saving some to top the tart and most of the mint and parsley, retaining some for garnish. 

Add the bacon and spring onions and a generous sprinkling of salt and pepper and give a good stir.

Snap the ends of the asparagus spears off to remove the bitterness and blanch in boiling water for 1 minute then remove and drain. Use kitchen towel to absorb any retained water or moisture to prevent your tart from having the dreaded soggy bottom!

Using a vegetable peeler create thin ribbons of courgette and set to one side.

Once the pastry has cooled for 10-15 minutes spread over half of the cheese mixture, leaving a 1.5cm border around the edge. 

Scatter the courgette ribbons to cover the cheese mixture then place the asparagus over the top in whichever pattern you fancy then top with the remaining cheese and crème fraiche mixture.

Return to the oven for 10-15 minutes until the cheese has melted and serve immediately with a simple salad.

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