A light, easy lunch recipe that is perfect for Mother’s Day, Easter, the kitchen table, or even a picnic. Fresh spring herbs and a caper dressing make this a little bit special. If you are vegetarian, why not sauté mushrooms and add to the filling instead of the seafood?
I hope the word “tart” didn’t strike fear in your heart. If you are anything like me, the thought of fiddling about making proper, light pastry fills you with mild terror and an outbreak of hot, sweaty palms – NOT good for pastry-making.
Rest assured this savory tart is a simple recipe involving little more than some creamy ricotta, eggs, smoked salmon, defrosted cooked prawns/shrimp and puff pastry. That’s pretty much it. All normal supermarket ingredients, which is not always the case on food to glow. I think it would make a delectable, light and easy lunch for Mother’s Day, celebrated in the US this coming Sunday. Hello, Moms!
Right now asparagus is in season in the US and the UK, as well as Europe. We in the UK tend to go for what you see in the images – thin, green, pencil-like spears (confession: photos taken in March of imported asparagus). But we also grow and love the stubbier, more alien-looking, purple varieties – although these are more commonly available in farm shops than the supermarkets. In continental Europe white, sunlight-deprived and very delicately-flavoured asparagus is preferred. But you would have to look pretty hard for the best examples: you will probably only find it field-fresh in the markets of Italy and southern France. Lucky sods.
If you can get wonky, fresh, market asparagus, the sandy soil still clinging to its gnarled stems and budded tips, hang the price and just get it. Commercial asparagus is grown to be straight and of uniform size, but the best stuff – and wild stuff if you can get it – is like a class photo: some tall, some short, some bean poles and some a bit chunky. All in the same twine and paper-wrapped bunch. Asparagus, not children. 🙂 My advice: don’t put it in a tart, or even roast it. Just steam the asparagus and dip in melted, salted English or French butter, then angle it into your mouth. Heaven!
Nutritionally asparagus has always been a dieter’s friend, being low in calories and sodium but high in essential nutrients: vitamins C, K, E, B vitamins (except B12), copper, selenium, potassium and actually quite a lot more. It is also a hugely valuable and delicious source of quercetin, a well-studied flavonoid antioxidant. Researchers have long considered quercetin, and other flavonoids contained in fruits and vegetables, important in cancer prevention. Other top sources of quercetin include onions, apples (loads in the peel), citrus fruits, berries, tea, sage, olive oil, grapes and cherries. Supplements of quercetin may interfere with medications, so stay on the safe side and munch away on asparagus and bright red and deep purple fruits.
And a word about the, ahem, odor. It is perfectly normal, although it doesn’t affect everyone, and not everyone can smell it anyway. If you want to know more about this aspect of asparagus (well, you might), read in the Health Benefits section of this article on World’s Healthiest Foods. It’s actually kind of interesting!
Now that I have probably put you off asparagus and this tart, here’s the recipe. 🙂 I hope you like it. I was inspired to make this by an Instagram post from @momskitchenhandbook, where she used smoked salmon, asparagus and creamed cheese. Thanks for the inspiration, Katie!
Asparagus, Smoked Salmon and Shrimp Tart
A light, easy lunch recipe that is perfect for Mother’s Day, Easter, the kitchen table, or even a picnic. Fresh spring herbs and a caper dressing make this a little bit special. If you are vegetarian, why not sauté mushrooms and add to the filling instead of the seafood? xx
300g puff pastry (gluten-free if needed; Genius and Jus-Rol brands widely available in the UK), removed from the fridge about 20 minutes before you wish to roll it, but still cold
Flour to roll out the pastry
300g ricotta cheese, beaten with a fork
2 medium organic eggs, lightly whisked
White pepper, about 1/4 tsp
3 tbsp each finely minced dill and chives, divided use
100g best smoked salmon, torn or cut into small pieces
100g defrosted, cooked small shrimps/prawns (or all smoked salmon)
350-400g green asparagus
2 tbsp capers – more to taste
Extra virgin olive oil, for asparagus and for dressing – about 3 tbsp plus 1 tsp*
Juice of 1/2 small lemon
1/2 tsp Dijon mustard
1. Preheat the oven to 180C fan/200C/400F. Line a lipped baking try with parchment paper. A tip is to have it overhang slightly from the tray on two opposite ends. Use a fingernail to score where it fits the edges of the tray. This will be your rolling guide. Remove it from the tray and sprinkle with a light dusting of flour.
2. Use the parchment paper as a guide to help roll the pastry to fit the tray, just shy of the tray’s edges. Lift the whole thing onto the tray. Use a small sharp knife to lightly score a “frame”. Brush a little of the beaten egg onto the pastry edges. If you have time, rest and chill it in the fridge for half an hour.
3. Pop the prepped pastry into the oven for 10 minutes. Remove from the oven and lightly run the knife around the inside edges, pressing the puffed middle gently to deflate.
4. While the pastry is par-baking, mix the ricotta, 2 tbsp each of the herbs, the pepper and remaining egg.
5. Snap the woody ends from the asparagus and lightly coat in 1 tsp of the oil.
6. Lay the salmon and prawns over the bottom of the baked pastry case, spread over the cheese mixture and then top with the asparagus spears; scatter over 1 tbsp of capers. Bake in the hot oven for 25 minutes, or until it is set, puffed and not wobbling. If a little of the eggy cheese mixture has spilled over, just trim it away and pop it in your mouth.
7. Remove the tart from the oven and cool a few minutes on a wire rack while you make the dressing and any salad you care to have with it.
8. For the dressing, pour the lemon juice and remaining oil into a lidded jar, add the mustard and shake well. Chop the remaining capers and stir in with the rest of the chopped herbs. Taste and adjust the flavours as you wish. Serve it drizzled over just-warm pieces of tart.
* If you have any smoked olive oil, use a little of this with the normal oil to enhance the smoky flavours.
A few more tarts on Food To Glow
Gorgeous tarts from some lovely blogging friends
If you like this recipe, why not Pin it to make later? I would be very happy if you did. And you can follow me on Pinterest, too. :-)