Sunday, May 25, 2008

Asparagus & Potato Tart

So here we have a lovely asparagus tart made with phyllo dough. It is yet another recipe I actually followed! (Well, me following a recipe is relative. I used most of the ingredients it called for, but I did not measure anything. Measuring is evil. Ok, it's not, but I never do it. Call me lazy, I don't care!). I got it from Jamie Oliver, from his new show on the Food Network,
Jamie at Home.

Working with phyllo isn't too tough, but it does take some preparation. It is very, very thin, paper-like dough that easily breaks if you're not careful. It also dries out very easily, so you want to work with one sheet at at time. Have a damp towel on-hand to cover the stuff you're not working with so it does not dry out.

So, here I assembled about 8 layers of phyllo, brushing each layer with olive oil. I put it in my square baking dish and filled it with mashed potatoes mixed with a little milk, 3 eggs and grated cheddar cheese. The dark spots you see are the potato skins. I never peel potatoes because the peel is perfectly edible, give the spuds an interesting texture, and provide a bit of additional fiber.

After I put the potatoes in, I topped them with asparagus I had steamed 'til it was al dente.
Isn't it pretty?

I folded down the edges of the phyllo and then baked 'til golden brown. It looked like this:

It was really good! It was crunchy from the layers of phyllo and creamy from the potatoes, and the asparagus on top was an interesting flavor. I would definitely recommend this!

Crispy and Delicious Asparagus & Potato Tart
(ok, so this name is a little cheesy, in my opinion. But, I guess it's better than calling it "The Super-Bestest Most Awesome Asparagus & Potato Tart in the History of the World").
Recipe courtesy of Jamie Oliver, from
Jamie at Home

1 pound potatoes, peeled and cut into chunks (I never peel. See why above).
Sea salt
1 pound asparagus spears, woody ends removed
8 ounces filo pastry
(I used about 8 sheets of phyllo. Those crazy Brits spell it "filo." I have no idea how much 8 sheets of phyllo weigh).
1/2 cup butter, melted
(I used olive oil instead)
1/2 cup freshly grated Lancashire cheese
(I didn't use this. I don't even know what kind of cheese this is.)
1/2 cup freshly grated Cheddar
3 large organic or free-range eggs
1 (8-ounce) container heavy cream
(I dumped in enough milk to make it creamy. I definitely didn't use this much, and it was nonfat milk, not heavy cream. I need to fit into my jeans tomorrow, people!)
1/4 whole fresh nutmeg
Freshly ground black pepper.

Put your potatoes into a pan of salted boiling water and cook for 15 minutes. Meanwhile blanch your asparagus in a separate pan of salted boiling water for 4 minutes, and drain in a colander.

Preheat the oven to 375 degrees F.

Get an ovenproof dish - I've used many different shapes and sizes. Layer the sheets of filo pastry in the dish, brushing them with melted butter as you go and letting about 1-inch hang over the edge. You want to get the pastry about 5 layers thick. Put a clean, damp kitchen towel over the top and put aside.

When the potatoes are done, mash them with the cheeses. In a separate bowl, mix together the eggs and cream and stir into your cheesy mashed potato. Grate in the nutmeg, season well with pepper and mix together. Spread the mashed potato over the filo pastry, then bring up the sides of the filo and scrunch them together to form a rim. Take your blanched asparagus and line them up across the filling, making sure you cover it all. Brush all over with the remaining melted butter and pop into the preheated oven for around 20 minutes, or until golden and crisp. Allow to rest for 10 minutes. Serve just as you would a quiche for a quick lunch or supper, with a salad.

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