Spring vegetable tartlets
Celebrate the seasonal transition with this spring recipe, which takes its flavour from green asparagus. It’s quick and easy, and makes a delicious starter or light lunch.
Swallows. turtle doves and house martins are returning from their migration. Bracken fronds are uncurling and primroses are spattering gardens with colour. But my favourite celebration of spring happens in the kitchen, where fresh greens become available once again: watercress, lettuces, purple sprouting broccoli...and asparagus.
- 3 filo pastry sheets
- 20g butter, melted
- 2 eggs
- 2tbsp mascarpone
- 40g hard goats’ cheese, finely grated
- 4 asparagus spears, cut into 2cm batons (tips set aside)
- 1tsp mustard
- 2 sprigs of thyme
- Freshly ground pepper
- 2tbsp lemon juice
- 6tbsp olive oil
- 1tsp mustard
- 100g watercress
1. Preheat oven to 180C.
2. To make the cases, lay out one filo sheet on a flat surface and brush it with melted butter. Press the second pastry sheet on top. Repeat, pressing the third filo pastry sheet on top. Cut into four squares.
3. Gently push the pastry squares into a greased muffin tin—a little like pushing a napkin in a glass. The pastry will softly scrumple and stick over the edges. It adds to the drama. Put the muffin tin in the oven for 5 minutes, to allow the four tartlet cases to crisp up a little bit.
4. Meanwhile, hand whisk the eggs and mascarpone until there are no lumps and it’s a light cream colour. Add the goats’ cheese, asparagus, mustard, thyme and ground pepper.
5. Spoon the mixture into the tartlet cases and decorate each by placing the tip of the asparagus spear on each. Return the tray to the oven for a further 15–20 minutes, until the filling has set.
6. In the meantime, shake the lemon, mustard, olive oil, salt and pepper in a jam jar. Use it to dress the watercress, and divide the salad between four plates. Add a cooked tartlet to each and serve.
Experiment with the filling of the tartlet. Peas make a nice addition, as does crispy bacon. The goats’ cheese can easily be substituted for Cheddar, crumbled blue cheese or even feta.