May’s kitchen treat – asparagus
It was a bit of a a slow start to the asparagus season this year and it was really struggling with frosty mornings and a complete lack of water – so much so that the asparagus patch needed watering. Not any longer! Here in North Yorkshire we’ve had our fair share of rain since the start of May but now the temperatures are milder the asparagus is in full growing flow.
Time for some tasty treats in the kitchen and this tart is one of them. Really easy to put together it looks quite impressive so is perfect for having friends round for a garden lunch with a glass of chilled white wine!
Cheesy asparagus and pea tart
Serves 4 Takes about 40 minutes
320g sheet of ready rolled puff pastry
About 150g asparagus – thin spears preferably
2 handfuls of frozen peas
180g full fat cream cheese
3 tablespoon green pesto plus another 1 or 2 more for drizzling
Olive or rape seed oil
150g hot smoked salmon – the chilli one works well
Handful of watercress
Large baking sheet
Oven preheated to 200C/Fan 180/gas 6
- Take your pastry out of the fridge and box to rest for 10 minutes (or as packet instructions)
- Pop the peas in a sieve to thaw or blanch in boiling water for a few seconds then drain
- If your asparagus spears are on the thick side gently simmer for a couple of minutes to start the cooking process then plunge into cold water and drain. Pour some oil onto a plate and roll the asparagus spears in it to coat them well
- Scrape all the cream cheese into a small bowl and stir to soften then add in the pesto and stir together.
- Unroll the pastry and lay on a greased baking sheet. Gently use the tip of a sharp knife to score round the pastry to make a border about 2cm from the edge.
- Use a palette knife to spread the cheesy mix evenly over the pastry, inside the border
- Lay the asparagus over the top and sprinkle the peas in between the spears
- Pop in your preheated oven for about 20 minutes then carefully remove and scatter over the salmon. Pop back in the oven for another 5-10 minutes until the pastry edge is golden brown and puffed up then transfer immediately to a large wire tray.
- Whilst the tart is still hot mix another tablespoon of pesto with enough oil to make a runny paste. Scatter some watercress over the tart then drizzle over the pesto.
- Serve warm or at room temperature with a delicious green salad