Recipes | Asparagus, hot-smoked trout and pea shoot tart


Asparagus, hot-smoked trout and pea shoot tart

I love a book that shows you how to make the best of the produce that's in season and Angela Clutton's big, beautiful new book Seasoning really does that to perfection.

The book also includes some really helpful tips for using up the fresh ingredients you've bought of which you can see some examples below.

Angela writes: "This is a springtime joy of a tart. At its best when it’s not been out of the oven too long, but also very lovely at room temperature. Serve with new potatoes and perhaps a bowl of dressed leaves."

Serves 6 as a main

250g (9oz) asparagus (typically 1 bundle)

2 tbsp olive oil

2 whole eggs, plus 2 yolks

200ml (7fl oz) double (heavy) cream

100ml (3 ½ fl oz) whole milk

1 1/2 tbsp freshly grated horseradish

300g (10 ½ oz) hot-smoked trout fillets

4 dill sprigs

handful of pea shoots

salt and black pepper

For the pastry case

250g (9oz) plain (all-purpose) flour

150g (5oz) cold butter

1 egg yolk

pinch of salt

1 orange

23cm (9in) loose-bottomed tart tin

For the pastry case: Put the flour into a mixing bowl. Dice the butter and use your fingers to rub it into the flour until it feels like breadcrumbs. Beat the egg yolk and add with a pinch of salt and the zest from the orange. Bring together into a smooth dough. (You might need to add a little cold water to help it come together, but add as little as you can get away with.) Shape into a disc, wrap, and chill for 30 minutes.

Preheat the oven to 170°C fan/375°F/gas 5 with a large baking sheet inside.

Roll out the pastry between 2 pieces of greaseproof paper until about 3mm (1/8in) thick and generously large enough to line the tart tin. Ease the pastry over your rolling pin and carefully lift over the tin, gently pressing it in. Let it overhang the case as the pastry will shrink as it cooks. Prick the base a few times with a fork and chill for 30 minutes.

Sit the tart case on the hot baking sheet, line with a large piece of baking paper and fill with baking beans or rice. Bake for 15 minutes, then remove the paper and beans and return to the oven for another 5 minutes. Take it out of the oven and sit on a wire rack to cool. Up to this point can be done up to a day ahead.

To make the tart: Snap the woody ends off the asparagus spears. Get a griddle pan very hot, toss the spears in the oil and quickly griddle them to take on some colour. They don’t need to be cooked, just charred. Do this under a grill if preferred.

Preheat the oven to 180°C fan/400°F/gas 6 with a baking sheet inside.

Whisk together the whole eggs, yolks, cream and milk in a bowl or jug. Season and stir in the horseradish.

Flake the trout into the pastry case, layering it with the asparagus spears and the dill leaves. Pour over the egg mixture. Just as it gets nearly full, put the tart onto the preheated baking sheet, pour over the last of the egg mixture and then carefully lift the tart into the oven. Bake for 40 minutes until just-about set, rotating it partway through if cooking at all unevenly.

Lift the tart onto a wire rack. Scatter over half of the pea shoots to wilt in the heat of the tart, but don’t try to take it out of its tin for about 30 minutes. Serve with the rest of the pea shoots on top for a perky garnish.

Waste tips

Citrus (bergamot; lemon; lime; orange): Once you have zested away the fruit’s protective outer layer it will start to dry out. Juice it soon, and if you have no immediate use for the juice you can freeze it. Ice-cube trays are good for these relatively small amounts. Freeze slices of citrus fruits to use in drinks. 

Egg whites: I like to make mayonnaise; ergo I like to make meringue, mousses and macarons with the many egg whites I have left behind from the mayo. Freeze the whites in an ice-cube tray where each space in the tray equals 1 egg white.

Horseradish: I use fresh horseradish a lot, and always seem to end up grating off more of the root than I need for a recipe. The happy outcome of that is stirring it through whatever crème fraîche or full-fat Greek yoghurt I might also have around, giving it a good squeeze of lemon and lots of black pepper, then keeping that in the fridge for a ready-made horseradish sauce. Note also that horseradish – like fresh root ginger – will keep brilliantly in the freezer to grate straight from there without any bother to peel first.

For stocks

- Keep in the freezer a bag or container into which you can easily put the (washed if necessary) peelings and trimmings of vegetables or herbs to use as the basis of making stocks. As the seasons roll round what you add to the freezer bag will change, giving the stocks a natural seasonality of flavour.

- Put the trimmings straight from the freezer into a large pan, cover with an equal volume of water, add salt and whatever fresh herbs might be around. (Add poultry bones for a meat stock.) Simmer for about an hour, strain, and that’s your stock ready to use/freeze.

Good things to use: Asparagus ends; broad (fava) bean pods; carrot peelings; cavolo nero ribs; celeriac peelings; celery trimmings; cucumber peel, seeds and core; fennel trimmings; garden pea pods; soft herb leaves and stems (e.g. basil, coriander (cilantro), mint, oregano, parsley); leek trimmings; onion skins; parsnip peelings; pumpkin and other squash fibres/skin (not flesh); shallot skins; spring onion (scallion) trimmings; sweet pepper (capsicum) trimmings; tomato skins, seeds and vines; woody herb leaves and stems (e.g. rosemary, thyme).

Soft herbs: The leaves and/or stalks of soft herbs can be blitzed into herb-infused oils. Blanch herb sprigs for barely 10 seconds in very hot water, then run under cold water and delicately dry in a cloth. Put the herbs – stalk and all – into a blender with the oil. Two or three bushy sprigs per 150ml (5fl oz) oil. Blitz, then strain through a fine sieve/ muslin (cheesecloth). Pour into a sterilised bottle and store out of direct sunlight. I like to put a fresh (blanched) sprig of the chosen herb in the bottle. For prettiness as much as to remind me what it is. (I seldom remember to label them, but I know that I should and so should you.)

What to drink: In general quiches work well with smooth dry white wines such as unoaked chardonnay, chenin blanc and pinot blanc but given the asparagus and pea shoots I'd be tempted by a Loire sauvignon blanc like Sancerre or Pouilly Fumé, or, more economically, a Touraine sauvignon. FB

Extracted from Seasoning by Angela Clutton. Published by Murdoch Books at £30. Photography by Patricia Niven



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