The sun is coming out and with it comes a harvest of tasty spring vegetables and this vibrant Green Spring Tart is a delicious way to enjoy seasonal veggies that are available now, in this fabulous month of April.
This tart is a wonderful light lunch or dinner of all butter puff pastry topped with delicious green asparagus, to which I added a few stalks of leftover white asparagus from the previous day (this is optional, of course), green peas, wild garlic leaves from our garden and farm fresh eggs – all of which sit on a bed of creamy soft cheese enhanced with soft herbs such as Italian parsley, basil, tarragon and/or chives, best to go with what you have on hand, which is probaly what you enjoy the most. The tart is simply bursting with the fresh flavors of spring, and, if you ask me, spring just couldn't be more tasty than this.
Green Spring Tart
- 375g pack ready-rolled all butter puff pastry (of course, feel free to use a homemade puff pastry, a rough puff pastry works very well here)
- 1 egg yolk (M), free-range and farm fresh or organic (if possible)
- 150g pack soft cheese
- fine sea salt
- freshly ground black pepper
- zest from 1/2 lemon, finely grated (organic and/or untreated)
- 2 tbsp chopped fresh soft herbs such as Italian parsley, chives, basil and tarragon
- 1 bunch green asparagus, peeled where necessary, woody bottoms trimmed off, blanched* (for about 2 minutes depending on the thickness of the asparagus), halved lengthwise NOTE: I added a few stalks of white asparagus here, for looks and because I happened to have them on hand
- a handful of peas (from fresh or frozen), blanched* as well
- a few leaves of wild garlic (optional)
- 4 eggs (M or L), free-range or organic
- olive oil
- pink radish cress and garden cress (purslane instead of cress is also a good option here)
- freshly ground black pepper and coarse sea salt
- some good quality, cold pressed (extra virgin) olive oil
'Blanching' means to plunge a fruit or vegetable into boiling water for a short amount of time before transferring it to an ice bath, which quickly stops the cooking.
- Pre-heat your oven to 200° C. Unroll the pastry sheet onto a large baking sheet/tray that you covered with parchment paper. If the edges are not straight, trim them with a sharp knife. Score a border, about 1cm in from the edge. Prick the middle area with a fork all over or score a criss-cross pattern over the central piece of pastry (this will prevent it from rising too much). Glaze the border with the egg yolk. Bake for 15 minutes. The pastry should be almost cooked, puffed and starting to color. Take the pastry out of the oven and flatten the middle area with the back of a spoon.
- Meanwhile, season the soft cheese with salt, pepper and lemon zest, taste, then fold in the herbs.
- Spread the soft cheese mix over the pastry to within the borders to the edges.
- Carefully toss the asparagus, the peas (and the wild garlic leaves, if using) with the olive oil in a bowl. Season wih salt and pepper to taste. Lay the asparagus in a reasonably neat row across the surface of the tart so the tips meet the edge. Then add the peas and the wild garlic leaves.
- Bake the tart for about 10 minutes, then add the eggs – you can either crack the eggs directly onto the tart (nestled between the veggies) OR pre-cook them briefly and THEN place them on top of the tart.
- Finish baking until the border of the tart is deep golden and the topping is lightly spotted golden brown, about 10 to 15 minutes more OR 20 to 25 minutes total (that is, if you go without the eggs).
- Let the tart cool for 5 minutes, garnish with pink radish cress and garden cress, grind black pepper over the tart, sprinkle with a bit of sea salt, add a few drops of olive oil and serve.
- Serve either warm or at room temperature.
Enjoy this rustic and simple tart of crisp and flaky puff pastry topped with creamy cheese and the most delicious of green spring veggies and herbs. Complete with a few eggs if you like and then finish it all off with different types of fresh, peppery cress, such as pink radish and garden cress, herb blossoms (for the looks) and maybe a few drops of really good extra virgin olive oil.