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Author Topic: ASPARAGUS  (Read 558 times)
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Having fun in the hills!

« on: November 15, 2009, 02:19:34 am »

Asparagus and smoked salmon tart

By PATRICIA SOPER - The Southland Times | Saturday, 14 November 2009

SALMON N SPEARS: This classic savoury tart is tailor-made for a lazy Sunday lunch. Serve it with a salad, olive oil, a drizzle of fresh lime juice and freshly milled pepper.  PATRICIA SOPER/The Southland Times.

SALMON N SPEARS: This classic savoury tart is tailor-made
for a lazy Sunday lunch. Serve it with a salad, olive oil, a
drizzle of fresh lime juice and freshly milled pepper.
PATRICIA SOPER/The Southland Times.

Asparagus is now in season. This delicious and somewhat mysterious vegetable has a distinctive flavour and texture; I prefer to serve it lightly cooked with a little butter and torn mint.

It's also excellent with a buttery sauce or cooked in a tart with smoked salmon and just a hint of horseradish and capers. Traditionally, asparagus is eaten with the fingers, which makes perfect sense when you consider the alternatives: knives and forks are not practical and, anyway, why would anyone deprive themselves of the deliciously gluttonous experience of holding and biting into these luxurious fat spears?

Most asparagus available in supermarkets here is green or purple; I have not seen white asparagus which is green asparagus that has been deprived of light during growing.

Soil is mounded around the emerging spears, thus preventing photosynthesis. Like most cooks I have seen the white variety on television cookery shows such as Market Kitchen and wondered why we can't buy it here. Perhaps some innovative grower might consider this gap in the market. Today's recipe is easy to make and impressive to serve. You can make it ahead of time but I prefer to serve it straight from the oven with a crisp salad.

The pastry is made in the food processor, then rolled and chilled while you assemble the filling.

Pastry Ingredients:

  • 1 cup flour
  • tsp salt
  • Pinch baking powder
  • 100g cold cubed butter
  • 1 egg yolk
  • About cup chilled soda water
  • Juice of lemon

Pastry Method:

  • Place dry ingredients in the processor.wAdd the cubed butter and pulse until mixture resembles breadcrumbs.

  • Combine the soda water and lemon juice.wWith the motor running, add the water-lemon juice combo a little at a time. You may not need all the liquid; the pastry should hold together but not be wet.

  • Turn pastry out on to a floured surface and roll to fit a 23cm flan tin. Trim edges then place the fridge.

Filling ingredients:

  • 200g smoked salmon
  • 1 bunch fresh asparagus
  • 3 eggs
  • cup cream
  • cup milk
  • 1 Tbsp flour
  • Salt and pepper to taste
  • tsp finely chopped capers
  • 1 Tbsp horseradish sauce (or to taste)
  • 1 finely chopped spring onion (optional)

Filling Method:

  • Set oven at 200C.

  • Lightly cook asparagus for 5 to 7 minutes. Drain then set aside to cool.

  • Lightly whisk the eggs and flour together.

  • Strain the mixture into a clean bowl. Stir in the milk and cream and then the capers, horseradish and seasoning.

  • Break the salmon into pieces and arrange on the base of the flan case.

  • Cut asparagus into pieces on an angle and fill all the gaps between the salmon.

  • Add the spring onion.

  • Carefully pour the liquid into the flan, making sure that all gaps are filled.

  • Bake centre oven for 10 minutes then reduce heat to 180C and cook for a further 25 to 30 minutes or until top is lightly browned.

Cook's tip: Never cool asparagus under running water as it will lose all its flavour.

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If you aren't living life on the edge, you're taking up too much space! 

« Reply #1 on: November 16, 2009, 10:11:54 am »

Try eating asparagus raw, chopped in salad, just nibble on a stick.     
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« Reply #2 on: November 16, 2009, 06:45:54 pm »

 Tongue or fresh out of the garden and very lightly stirfried when still dripping with its own sap.
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« Reply #3 on: November 17, 2009, 10:37:43 pm »

Was watching Iron Chef America the other night and the secret ingredient was asparagus.  Apart from the asparagus icecream, candied asparagus and chocolate coated asparagus served in white rum there was one recipe that looked quite nice... and normal.  It was asparagus and feta wrapped in filo pastry and baked.  Seemed like a simple fancy starter.
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This job is a test . . . It is only a test . . . Had this been a real job . . . it would have come with raises, promotions and other signs of appreciation!!!

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