The light healthy version of a crowdpleaser dish
Crust (make your own): 1.5 hr // Filling: 15 min // Bake: 30 min
As we are entering the asparagus season in Britain, this delightfully textured and weird shaped vegetable cannot go unnoticed in grocery stores and farmers markets. If there's one thing I love about Britain this is the green asparagus with the deep purple tip, one of the few vegetables that thrive in UK climate. Not to mention how photogenic these green spears are! While the rest of continental Europe mostly enjoys the white variety, in Britain you mostly find the native green stuff, a very sweet and tender one.
Surprisingly, apart from its beneficial effects on your health (packs plenty of fibre and antioxidants like vitamin C), it can be cooked in so many different styles. My favourite is my dad's cheese asparagus omelette but also this flavoursome tart, of course.
My version is a bit healthier and lighter in calories but equally tasty to any other out there as:
I make my own tart shell with wholewheat flour, without sugar and using less quantity of unsalted butter.
I use light dairy products and replace heavy cream with Greek yoghurt
I toss some nice matching herbs and seasoning to boost the flavour.
Enjoy the goodness of this dish as breakfast, brunch, lunch, teatime snack or appetiser for a fancy dinner with friends.
Mixing bowl, small bowl, balloon whisk, rolling pin, tart tin* (mine is roughly 23cm diameter).
*I totally recommend buying a non-stick tart tin with holes and a removable loose bottom which makes the crust so nice and crispy and easier to detach and serve. I recommend this one from Amazon, I've got exactly the same and has proven its value and quality over the years of use.
Ingredients for the crust
300g flour (150g wholewheat/150g plain)
30g unsalted butter at room temperature, cubed
2 tbsp olive oil
Pinch of salt
or check this recipe out of the most tasty crust ever!
Ingredients for the filling
100g smoked salmon
50g grated parmesan cheese
2 big eggs (or 3 small)
100g light Greek yoghurt
100g (1/2 cup) reduced-fat cream cheese
½ lemon, juiced plus zest
2 tbsp finely chopped dill
1 spring onion (or chives), finely sliced
2 tsp Seasoning (Black, green and red pepper)
Tip: Marinade your salmon with half lemon juice and some crashed pepper while your dough is chilling out in the fridge.
Flour: In the absence of wholemeal any plain all-purpose flour will do the trick just fine.
Asparagus > Brocolli. A good alternative if you are baking in wintertime.
Parmigiano > Pecorino. Parmesan has a very distinct flavour: it's bold, it's tangy and a bit salty. A good alternative is Pecorino though a bit saltier and much creamier (i.e. fattier). Greeks also might be looking at replacing with graviera cheese.
Fresh herbs > dry herbs: can be replaced with dry, but make sure you add 20-30% more dry product to level up the taste.
Butter > Dairy-free (Margarine). Some are lactose intolerant, vegans or simply there's nothing else in the fridge and too lazy to go shopping. These kinds of butter can be altered however the replacement can affect not only the taste but structure as well. If you go for dairy-free butter and notice the mixture is too soft or watery add some more pinches of flour to reduce the moisture. Use in 1:1 ratio.
Whisk flour with salt in a bowl. Using your fingertips, rub the butter into the dry ingredients until it looks like breadcrumbs.
Add the olive oil and gradually add 100ml of cold water, continuously mixing until it becomes a rough dough.
Knead briefly on the bench and wrap it with cling film and refrigerate for 1 hour (preferably overnight) to allow the dough to firm up.
Remove the dough from fridge ideally 10 min before you start rolling. During that time, preheat your oven at 180c fan.
On a flour-dusted surface, roll out the dough to around 1/2 cm thick. Roll the pastry up around the rolling pin, and then carefully unroll it to cover your tart tin. Gently press the pastry into the tin, moulding it to the tin as you go. Don’t worry if it breaks, you may patch up any holes with spare pastry.
Blind bake the pastry: cover the tart tin with baking paper and bake it for 10-15 min.
In a small bowl mix the milk with the lemon juice and zest and put aside (you will notice milk curdling up).
Place your asparagus and broccoli in a bowl of boiling water and let it softened for 3-4 mins. Alternatively, cook them for a few minutes in a steamer (boiling is not recommended).
Crack the eggs into a large bowl and whisk in the creams, milk, parmesan and seasoning. Chop and stir in the dill, spring onion or chives. Finally, cut the salmon into 1-2 cm pieces and add to the mixture
When the dough is blindly baked, pour the mixture and continue baking uncovered in the same temperature for another 30-40 mins or until the top is slightly brown and set.
Leave to cool slightly before serving.
Store it in an airtight cake container which will keep it fresh for days
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