Spring Vegetable Tart (gluten-free)

Spring Vegetable Tart (gluten-free)I attended a baby shower this past weekend. This time as “the help”—or sous chef, as I’d taken to calling myself. I delicately filled endive leaves with a yogurt-lentil mixture, cut brownies into perfect squares, and stacked decorative toothpicks with tiny bocconcini, fresh basil, and sweet cherry tomatoes, all the while chatting away with my sister, the host and “head chef.” We caught up on our lives, and talked about family, life, relationships, and food, of course. In between jobs, I refueled with her homemade granola bars and sampled the bites she would be serving—just to be sure they passed the test. I know that my sister really valued my help; she told me so, many times. But I also really valued being there. Standing in her tiny kitchen, each of us focused on our particular task at hand, working to create a special experience for someone that she loved, made me feel happy to be helping her.Spring Vegetable Tart (gluten free)Growing up, my family owned a restaurant, but my mom and my aunts also hosted a lot of dinner parties and get-togethers. They could often be found in the kitchen, talking, laughing, occasionally bickering as sisters sometimes do, and together creating a spectacular spread that would nourish their guests that night. Food is something that has long brought my family together, through the shared preparation, the stories of how the recipes evolved, and the coming together for meals featuring eats like Cio Cia Lou’s blueberry perogies, Cio Cia Dzi’s caeesar salad (one that would rival any), or mom’s shrimp scampi—all of which have legendary followings where I come from. Working with my sister the other day reminded me of their connection in the kitchen and how they’d work together, lovingly making the food that they’d serve to their guests. That day, we too created a spectacular spread that I hope welcomed and nourished her guests. It felt good to see those traditions being carried on in my sister’s tiny kitchen.Spring Vegetable Tart (gluten-free)This spring vegetable tart is perfect served up at a baby shower, but it also makes a lovely family meal. A little advance time in the kitchen is required to prepare the pastry, but not much since it’s mostly just chilling. And if your sister is joining you to make it, then you can spend some time catching up while it’s doing just that. It’s perfect for a weekend get-together, really.

The flavours of the tart highlight the best of spring, showcasing asparagus, peas or favas, and fresh herbs. The pastry is light, buttery, and gluten free—the masa harina giving it a lovely sweetness and the cornmeal a nice crunch. If you eat dairy, I recommend using the butter. It adds fantastic flavour; and a good organic butter offers a lot of health benefits, so don’t fear the fat. If you don’t eat dairy, you can try this with olive oil, replacing both the butter and yogurt with it. I have not made this particular recipe with olive oil, but I’ve made many tarts with it in the past and they’ve all turned out to be delicious. If you’ve never made a tart, now’s your chance. Once you see how beautiful they look on your table, and really in the end, how straightforward they are to make, you’ll feel so accomplished and will want to make them again and again.

Spring Vegetable Tart (gluten-free)
Author: 
Recipe type: Vegetarian, Gluten-free
Prep time: 
Cook time: 
Total time: 
Serves: 4-6
 
This tart might be the best Spring dish you create and eat. It's gratifying both in its beauty and its taste. Most of the prep time below is spent letting the pastry chill, so don't let the length of time intimidate you. Tip: I keep butter in the freezer and grate it in to pastry for recipes like this. It makes the task a lot simpler. If you cut it into cubes, just ensure that it's cold.
Ingredients
  • TART CRUST
  • ¼ cup masa harina, a type of corn flour (You can buy it at most well-stocked grocery stores.)
  • ¼ cup quinoa flour
  • ¼ potato starch (not potato flour)
  • ⅓ coarse ground cornmeal
  • 6 tbsp cold butter, frozen and grated or simply cut into small cubes
  • 2 tbsp cold, plain yogurt
  • 1 egg, lightly beaten
  • 1 tbsp ice cold water
  • salt + pepper to taste
  • TART FILLING
  • 1 red onion, sliced into thin half moons
  • 1-2 tbsp grapeseed oil
  • 3 eggs
  • 2 tbsp milk (I used almond)
  • ¼ each fresh chopped mint and basil
  • ¼ tsp lemon zest
  • ¼ tsp each, salt & pepper
  • ¼ cup fava beans or green peas
  • Handful of fresh asparagus, ends trimmed
  • ¼ - ⅓ cup goat cheese, optional, but highly suggested
  • RIBBONED ASPARAGUS SALAD, OPTIONAL (amounts are estimates)
  • 1 lb of fat asparagus stalks, trimmed and peeled into ribbons
  • A handful or two of mixed greens or arugula
  • Half of a lemon
  • Olive oil
  • Salt and pepper, to taste
Instructions
  1. TART CRUST
  2. Pour the masa harina, quinoa flour, potato starch, and cornmeal into a food processor and pulse a few times to aerate it. Toss in the butter and yogurt and pulse again several times until the butter has a pea-like consistency. Whisk together the egg and ice water. Add it to the food processor and pulse until the dough comes together. It won't form a ball, but you can press it between your fingers to see if it will stick. If not, add another tbsp of ice water and pulse again.
  3. Put the dough onto a floured work surface and knead a few times, just enough to form a disc. Wrap the dough disc in plastic wrap and refrigerate for an hour. Just before your hour is up, preheat the oven to 375°F.
  4. Dust your work surface with masa harina, place the dough on it, and gently roll it out to approximately ⅛ of an inch. Roll the dough over the rolling pin and lift it over, and onto, the tart pan. Gently press it in and cut off the excess. Alternatively, you could try pressing the dough into the pan. Prick the dough with the tines of a fork with about ½ an inch in between. Place the tart crust in the oven and blind-bake for 15 minutes. Remove the crust from the oven and set it aside to cool a little.
  5. Leave the oven on, but increase the temperature to 400°F.
  6. TART FILLING
  7. Meanwhile, heat the grapeseed oil in a pan over medium heat, add the onion, turn the heat down a little, and cook for 12-15 minutes, stirring occasionally, until the onion has turned a deep golden brown. Set aside to cool.
  8. In a medium bowl mix together the eggs, milk, herbs, lemon zest, and salt and pepper. Stir in the fava beans or peas. Pour the mixture into the prepared tart crust and top with asparagus. Top with dollops of goat cheese, if you're using it.
  9. Place in the oven and cook for approximately 25 minutes, or until golden brown.
  10. RIBBONED ASPARAGUS SALAD
  11. At the last minute, ribbon the asparagus by placing it on it's side and peeling it with a vegetable peeler. Toss the asparagus curls with the greens. Drizzle with olive oil, a squeeze of lemon, and a sprinkling of salt and pepper. Taste and adjust as needed.
  12. Serve each tart slice with a handful of salad over top.

 

 

2 Comments

  • This looks beautiful! I love tarts for parties because they don’t have to be served piping hot.

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