5 October 2011

Tenderstem Broccoli, sundried tomato & goat's cheese tart

This lovely crisp savoury tart came into life as a suitable accompaniment for the Zesty Beetroot Salad (see previous blog post).

However, because I'm aware of not wanting one item to steal the show, I thought long and hard about what I wanted to put into my tart shell.

Oh now, the tart shell!  Yes, now that's another story too.  You see, because of some Meal Planning malfunctions a few weeks ago, I had a pack of Filo pastry taking up space in our freezer that really didn't need to take up space therein.  It's only a teensy freezer, you see, and well - we've just bought a new ice cream machine.  Need I say more!

I have made Greek style pies that use filo pastry in the past - and most successfully.  So I decided to go down a similar route except not to enclose the contents this time.

I used olive oil instead of melted butter to grease each sheet (with a view to the health aspect) and laid them into the bottom of a spring form tin, in a vaguely star-like shape.  Let me tell you, it was a complete labour of Sisyphus to try and keep the points of the star to stand upright against the wall of the tin, but I sort of got there in the end.  Suffice to say that none of the filling escaped, which was the main thing.

So, getting back to the filling.

I knew I wanted it to go with the Zesty Beetroot Salad, so I knew I wanted flavours that would offset those in the salad.  So we were looking at mild, fresh, creamy, savoury flavours, to accentuate and blend with the powerful, earthy, zesty and sweet flavours of the salad.

Mild and fresh were both catered for with the tenderstem broccoli, and the goat's cheese - which also catered for the creamy and savoury.  Savoury also applied to the sun dried tomato, which added a slight piquancy to a tart which otherwise might have been a bit short on dimensions.

As it turned out, the tart was just gorgeous.  Paired with the beetroot salad, it was transformed into something sublime.  Rarely have I managed to pull off such a virtuoso performance in balanced flavours.  In fact, son & heir (who enjoyed the tart, but couldn't pluck up the courage to try the beetroot) requested that we stop "mmnnn-ing", for fear that we were beginning to resemble contented cows.

Well, if a contented cow enjoys flavours such as those demonstrated in this combination, just by eating grass, I might be convinced to look at the lawn mowings a bit differently.  Somehow, sadly, I don't think it works that way.


Ingredients :

150g tenderstem broccoli (or asparagus, when in season), cut into 3 pieces
a pack of filo pastry
olive oil for brushing on
5-6 pieces of sundried tomato, chopped small
3 eggs, beaten
150ml double cream
sea salt & freshly ground black pepper
100g creamy goat's cheese
20g cheddar, for grating.

Method :

1.  Pre-heat your oven to 350deg F/180deg C (fan)/gas mark 4.

2.  In a large saucepan, boil some salted water and cook the broccoli for 3-4 minutes depending on stem size.  If the stems are very large, then allow a little longer to cook. Drain and refresh in cold water, to stop the cooking process.  Leave to drain.

3.  Line an 8" spring form tin with each sheet of filo pastry, brushing oil inbetween each layer and using the oil to help stick the corners of the pastry to the tin, until you have a random star shape.

4.  In a bowl, mix the eggs with the cream and season well.  The tart can take a good deal of pepper, but be careful with the salt - remember that the goat's cheese is salty.

5.  Into the pastry case, sprinkle the pieces of sundried tomato, then the broccoli and arrange pleasantly, so that nothing is sticking up and likely to catch and burn in the oven.  Pour over the egg mixture and roll the tin to ensure the egg reaches every nook and cranny.

6.  Crumble the goat's cheese over the top and press down lightly to ensure it melts into the tart's contents.

7.  Sprinkle with a light coating of cheddar, then place into the oven and bake for 30-45 minutes, or until the top is golden brown and there is no evidence of any wet egg in the centre.

8.  Allow to cool slightly, then remove the outside of the spring form and slide the tart onto your serving plate.

9.  Serve.


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