Asparagus, Roasted Tomato, Red Onion, Basil and Mozzarella Tart
5 thick asparagus spears, sliced lengthways – or 10 thin ones
1 punnet of 20 sweet cherry tomatoes
Handful of fresh basil leaves
1 x Buffalo mozzarella balls
1 small red onion
Sea Salt & Pepper
1 tsp dried oregano
1 tsp sugar
1-2 tbsp Ex Virgin olive oil
2 tbsp balsamic vinegar
Milk for brushing
Blanch the asparagus in boiling water with a teaspoon of salt and sugar for about 4 minutes, drain and plunge in very cold water – this will stop the asparagus from cooking further and help keep the bright colour.
Using a sharp knife, trim the sheet of puff pastry to about 25 x 28cm/10 x 11in. Place it on a baking tray lined with greaseproof paper and score a border 2cm/¾in in from the edge all the way round. Prick the pastry within the margin, using a fork. Leave to rest in the fridge for about an hour. Meanwhile, preheat the oven to 180 Fan.
Put the cherry tomatoes in an oven proof dish and drizzle in a little olive oil, sprinkle with sea salt, pepper and the oregano. Roast for around 30-40 minutes until they are soft and sticky. Set aside
Heat 1 tbsp of oil in the frying pan and add red onion slices, cook on a low heat stirring occasionally until they are nicely softened, about 10-15 minutes. Add in the balsamic vinegar and let the onions cook for a few minutes more so they are sticky, and the liquid has evaporated. Set aside.
Turn the oven up to 220 fan
Brush the puff pastry all over with the milk and sprinkle with a little salt. Cook on the middle shelf of the oven for about 15 minutes.
Reduce the temperature to 140C Fan
Press the inside of the pastry down and return to the oven for 25 minutes to get a super-crisp base.
Tear up the mozzarella, pat dry with kitchen roll to take off the excess moisture and drizzle with some olive oil and a sprinkle of salt and pepper – Mix this up as it helps to give an even seasoning when cooking.
Dry the asparagus and toss in a little olive oil.
Take the tart case out of the oven and increase the temperature to 200C/180C Fan/Gas 6.
Scatter the red onions, tomatoes, asparagus into the tart case, mix the basil leaves in with the cheese to coat in the seasoned oil then add this to the tart .
Bake for 10-15 minutes until the cheese is softening. Cut the tart into portions and serve warm.
Many thanks to Rebecca Hawarth from Optident!