Given that March is the month of spring, I thought I’d offer you a recipe that features asparagus. With such a short harvest season, take advantage of it when you can. Snap up a few bunches as soon as you see it in the stores. Some people aren’t fans of asparagus, probably because they’ve had to endure severely mushy and overcooked specimens.
Try this: light the bbq, thread a handful of fresh asparagus onto a skewer and grill. Turn the skewered asparagus every so often so the spears don’t burn. Cook for about 5 minutes (depending on how hot the grill is). If you’ve never cooked them like this before, taste one after several minutes. The outside of the asparagus should be smoky and juicy while the inner stem remains crisp.
If that doesn’t convince you to love this yummy spring vegetable, perhaps the next recipe will.
Serves 6. Use a 9-inch tart pan with a removable bottom. I used gluten-free all-purpose flour for fun, and it worked out well. You can also use regular all-purpose flour instead of the chickpea flour.
3/4 cup all-purpose flour
1/2 cup chickpea flour (or whole wheat)
1/2 tsp salt
6 Tbsp cold, unsalted butter
2 large egg yolks
2 Tbsp ice water
1. In a large bowl, combine flours and salt. Cut in butter until the mixture resembles pea-sized meal. Stir in egg yolks. Add ice water. Stir dough briefly, then pour out onto a cutting board. Use hands to bring the dough together into a ball. Wrap them in plastic wrap. Refrigerate until firm, about 30 minutes.
2. Sprinkle flour over a cutting board or countertop. Roll the dough out to a 9-inch round. Place the dough carefully into a tart pan with a removable bottom. Press dough into the sides of the pan. Prick the bottom of the shell all over and chill for 10 minutes in the freezer.
3. Line the chilled shell with parchment paper or foil. Fill with pie weights or dried beans. Bake at 375°F until edges of crust are just beginning to turn brown, about 10 minutes. Remove parchment and weights. Continue baking for another 12 minutes. Remove from oven and let cool completely on a wire rack.
Pinch of salt
12 asparagus spears, trimmed
2 egg yolks
1/2 cup whole milk or 35% cream
3/4 grated Parmigiano
1. While the pastry shell cools, grill or steam asparagus until desired texture is reached. Cut spears into 1-inch lengths.
2. In a small bowl, combine eggs and milk. Stir well.
3. Place cooled pastry shell on a baking sheet. Distribute the cut asparagus over the bottom of the shell. Pour egg mixture overtop. Sprinkle with grated cheese. Bake at 400°F until the filling is puffed and lightly golden, about 25 minutes. Let cool.
Serve with your favourite sparkling wine.