Valentine Warner’s British Asparagus & Crab Tart
This is a fine thing to set up on a summer table next to a chilled bottle of white, personally I see this as more a lunchtime thing if possible to be enjoyed alfresco
Cooking time: 80 minutes
Preparation time: 15-20 minutes
Serves: 6 to 8
You will need 25cm loose bottom tart case
1 packet short crust pastry
1 egg, beaten for brushing the case
2 bundles of British asparagus
1 small onion very finely chopped
1 ½ tsp tomato puree
1 generous tsp Dijon mustard
300g soft fresh brown crab meat
300ml single cream
2 medium eggs
A heavy grind of black pepper & salt to taste
Pre-heat the oven to 190°c
Take a tart case & roll out the short crust pastry nice and thin. Tuck neatly into the case whilst leaving the sides hanging down all the way around. Scrumple up some baking paper, this will help you fit it over the pastry, pour in some baking beans so the pastry is well weighted down.
Put the case on a baking tray and cook in the oven for approximately half an hour until the visible overhang appears to be turning a rich golden colour.
Remove from the oven, take out the paper & beans and put the tart back in for a further 5-6 minutes, in order to crisp up the bottom.
Remove from the oven and whilst still hot paint the entire of the case with a beaten egg.
Taking a small paring knife shave around the rim of the case detaching the overhang, this makes good bird food.
Cut the asparagus spears in half. Bring some salted water to the boil, drop in the asparagus and when the water starts boiling again cook for no more than 1 ½ minutes, drain, cool in cold water, drain again and thoroughly dry in a tea towel.
Melt the butter in a saucepan and sauté the onions slowly, this should take 10 minutes or so until they are totally soft and pale gold. Stir in the tomato puree and mustard and cook gently for a minute or so more.
Add the brown crab meat, followed by the cream, salt & pepper, stir it all together
Take off the heat and beating the entire time break in the 2 remaining eggs, beat in well. Leave to one side.
Scatter the asparagus into the pastry case, pour the crab filling over the top, gently return the tart to the oven & cook for approx 25-30 minutes. When the tart is nearly done, give the tray a little shake, the filling should wobble faintly in the middle. It is important to take the tart out at this time as it will go on cooking, you want the filling soft rather than overset.
Either eat warm or at room temperature.
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