Asparagus and Smoked Salmon Tart
- ACTIVE: 25 MIN
- TOTAL TIME: 3 HR
- SERVINGS: 8
The Franschhoek Valley is full of farms raising salmon trout, a kind of trout with salmon-colored flesh and one of the region's specialties. Barak Hirschowitz of Tides restaurant at the Bay Hotel in Cape Town uses the smoked fillets to add an earthy, salty flavor to his spring tart, but readily available smoked salmon makes a fine substitute.
- 1 1/4 cups all-purpose flour
- Pinch of kosher salt
- 1 stick (4 ounces) unsalted butter, cut into small pieces and chilled
- 5 tablespoons ice water
- 3/4 pound thin asparagus
- 1 cup heavy cream
- 2 large egg yolks
- 1 large egg
- 1/2 teaspoon salt
- 1/4 teaspoon freshly ground pepper
- 1/4 pound thinly sliced smoked salmon or smoked salmon trout, cut into 1/2-inch strips
- In a large bowl, mix the flour and salt. Using a pastry blender or 2 knives, cut in the butter until the mixture resembles coarse meal. Sprinkle on the ice water and toss with a fork to evenly moisten. Pat it into a disk. Cover with plastic wrap and refrigerate until firm, about 1 hour.
- Preheat the oven to 350°. On a lightly floured surface, roll the pastry out to a 13-inch round about 1/8 inch thick. Fold the round in half and transfer it to an 11-inch fluted tart pan with a removable bottom. Unfold the pastry and gently press it into the pan without stretching. Trim off any overhanging pastry and refrigerate the shell for 30 minutes.
- Line the pastry shell with foil and fill with pie weights. Bake for about 40 minutes, or until the edge starts to brown. Remove the foil and weights and bake until golden brown, about 10 minutes longer. Turn the oven down to 325°.
- In a medium saucepan of boiling salted water, cook the asparagus until tender, about 3 minutes. Drain and pat dry. Cut the asparagus into 1-inch lengths.
- In a medium bowl, whisk the cream with the egg yolks and whole egg and season with the salt and pepper. Scatter the asparagus and the smoked salmon strips in the pastry shell. Carefully pour the custard into the shell and bake for about 30 minutes, or until the custard is set. Transfer to a rack and let cool slightly before unmolding and serving.
A full-flavored Chardonnay from Stellenbosch will complement the creamy filling and rich salmon here.