Food editor, stylist and author Angela Boggiano and her photographer husband, Craig Robertson, owners of At The Kitchen in Cheadle Hulme, share their delightful veggie dishes with us
Creamy asparagus, pecorino & chive tart
As the weather improves, why not get outdoors and serve up this delicious seasonal asparagus tart – perfect with the tomato, fennel and pine nut salad, crusty bread and some crisp salad leaves. The pastry is easy to make for this tart, but if you are not feeling up to making your own, then shop-bought shortcrust would work just as well. This is such a versatile recipe and now that you have the formula, you can adapt the recipe depending on your taste and equipment. You can replace the asparagus with some baby leeks or whole spring onions and add flavour-packed Gruyère cheese (instead of the pecorino) and a dollop of wholegrain mustard. Bake in a 23cm, loose-bottomed tart tin (any shape).
For the pastry:
150g plain flour, plus extra for dusting
150g wholemeal flour
1 pinch of cayenne pepper
150g butter, cut into cubes
1 large egg, beaten
For the filling:
500g small new potatoes
350g asparagus spears, ends trimmed
3 large eggs, lightly beaten
3 tbsp crème fraîche
100g pecorino cheese, grated
25g bunch of chives, finely chopped
Preparing the pastry:
1. Place the plain and wholemeal flours in a bowl with the cayenne pepper and add the butter and a pinch of salt. Rub the butter into the flour until the mixture resembles breadcrumbs.
2. Add 2 tablespoons of cold water to the beaten egg and add this to the mixture. Using a rounded blade knife, mix the egg into the mixture until its starts to form a firm dough.
3. Bring together with your hands to form a ball, adding a little more cold water if needed. Knead briefly, then wrap in cling film and chill in the fridge for 30 minutes.
4. Grease a 23cm round or square shallow tart tin. Remove the pastry from the fridge and bring to room temperature. Dust the work surface with plain flour and roll out the pastry to about 2mm thickness, ensuring it’s a little wider in width than the tin.
5. Transfer the pastry to your tin and gently press the pastry into the tin, allowing a little overhang. Trim off any excess pastry with a knife. Use a fork to prick a few holes in the tart base and return to the fridge whilst you prepare the filling.
6. Preheat the oven to 180°C/ fan 160°C/gas 4. Place a baking tray in the centre of the oven to heat up (this helps to cook the base of the tart avoiding a soggy pastry bottom).
Preparing the filling:
1. Place the potatoes in a medium pan, cover with water and bring to the boil and simmer for 10-12 minutes until very tender. Drain and leave to cool.
2. In a large jug, beat the eggs with the crème fraîche, pecorino and chives. Season well.
3. Cut the potatoes into thick slices and lay out on the base of the pastry and then pour over the egg mixture. Lay the asparagus spears on top, pressing gently into the egg mixture, and then bake for 25 minutes until the filling is set and golden. Serve warm or cold.
Tomato, fennel & pine nut salad
For this stunning tomato salad, look out for a variety of tomatoes and mix them all up, including cherry, vine-ripened, green, yellow and red heritage tomatoes. It really is a delicious and tasty salad and perfect with the creamy tart.
For the salad:
1 fennel bulb
400g ripe tomatoes (see note above)
4 tbsp toasted pine nuts
3 tbsp chopped dill
3 tbsp chopped flat leaf parsley
For the dressing:
2 tbsp extra virgin olive oil
1 tbsp red wine vinegar
2 shallots, halved and finely chopped
Sea salt and ground black pepper
1. Halve the fennel bulb and, using either a mandolin or a sharp knife, slice into wafer thin shavings. Keep the fennel fronds as they have loads of flavour and look great on the salad.
2. Mix together the dressing ingredients and set aside.
3. Slice the tomatoes and arrange on a large serving platter. Scatter over the fennel shavings, the pine nuts and the herbs.
4. When ready to serve, spoon over the dressing and serve with an extra grinding of black pepper.