It is serious. I cannot walk past a bunch of asparagus without buying one. It’s the same this time every year. The price drops to 2 Euros and I am compelled to purchase them. It’s affecting my relationships with other vegetables. I am out of control!
But it comforts me to know that I am not alone. There are many of us out there overwhelmed by our asparagus urges. I am one of many food bloggers who finds themselves inspired and captivated by the delicate green stems. Oh yes, we are asparagus addicted for sure!
I think you can be very creative with asparagus. They work in so many dishes or even just on their own with a multitude of varied dressings, sauces or cheeses. Just this week I had them in a risotto, in a beef salad, roasted with salmon and in a tart. So many different ways, all delicious and distinct.
So I am going to share my Asparagus & Smoked Salmon Tartlet with you; a dainty, elegant dish, great for Summer entertaining or a light lunch. The pastry has a hit of parmesan running through it, filled with some cream cheese peppered with shallot, lemon zest & dill. Then ribbons of silky smoked salmon are wound around like petals of a flower and finally topped with thin strips of asparagus dressed in a lemony dill vinaigrette. Pretty as a picture and truly tasty too!
I am lazy so I usually use shop bought pastry at home as its such good quality and so quick to use. But on this occasion, I wanted to add a hint of parmesan so I made my own. It really didn’t take long at all and it made me wonder why I usually cheat! The resulting pastry was perfectly crumbly and delicious and worth every extra minute.
I wanted to get my asparagus strips really thin so they could be moulded into a pile to sit atop my tartlet so I tried using a swivel peeler to achieve ribbons. It worked up to a point and then it became tricky so I had to resort to knife skills and cutting them manually as thin as I could. You can do whatever suits you but just ensure they are super thin.
These tarts were devoured in the sunshine alongside a rocket salad and a glass of crisp white wine. Thus temporarily satiating my lust for asparagus. I am take each day as it comes…
Asparagus & Smoked Salmon Tartlets
For the pastry
110g plain flour
pinch of salt
50g butter at room temperature
25g grated parmesan
For the tartlet filling
250g smoked salmon, cut into strips
100g cream cheese
2 tbsp mayonnaise, home made if possible
1 shallot, finely chopped
zest of 1/2 a lemon
2 tbsp chopped dill
1 500g bunch of asparagus
For the dressing
juice of 1/2 lemon
1 tsp dijon mustard
2 tbsp olive oil
1 tbsp chopped dill
To make your pastry, sift the flour into a bowl with the salt. Cut your butter into cubes and add to the bowl. Use your fingertips to rub the butter and flour together, as if making a crumble topping. Once evenly crumbly, add your parmesan and sprinkle in 2 tablespoons of cold water and bring the mixture together with your hands to form a ball of pastry. Put it in a plastic bag and place in the fridge for 30 minutes to rest.
Meanwhile, prepare your tart filling. In a bowl, combine the cream cheese with the mayonnaise and add the chopped shallot, lemon zest and dill. Set aside.
Prep your asparagus by snapping off the woody ends. Then cook them in boiling salted water for 5-8 minutes. Drain and cool a little. Then use a swivel peeler to create ribbons as far as you can. If you can’t shave the entire stem of the asparagus, use a knife to cut the remaining into super thin strips.
Make the dressing by whisking all the ingredients together. Dress your asparagus ribbons and season them.
Pre-heat your oven to 190F/200C.
On a floured surface, roll out your pastry nice and thinly. Cut out circles to fit your tartlet cases and press in to the tins. Place a little circle of baking paper in each and pour in some baking beans. Bake in the oven for 15 minutes. Then take them out and remove the baking paper and beans and put back in the oven for a further 10 minutes until cooked through and golden. Set them aside to cool down.
Once your tartlets have cooled down, place a tablespoon of of the cream cheese mixture into each and spread out evenly. Take strips of the smoked salmon and wind them round the tartlets all the way to the center.
Take a handful of asparagus and mould them round in your hand and then oile them on top of the tartlets to achieve a little height. Drizzle over any left over dressing from the bowl. Serve in the sunshine!
I am delighted to enter this dish into this months Herbs On Saturday blogging challenge, hosted by little old ME! This challenge is the baby of Karen from Lavender & Lovage and is one of my very favourites! Always full of fantastic entries, come and get involved.
And I am also entering this into Javelin Warriors Made With Love Mondays, a weekly challenge for recipes that are entirely made from scratch, as this one was!