02 June 2008

crispy phyllo.

Phyllo is tough, man. It's cranky and cracky and temperamental. And that is just the fresh stuff that hasn't been in the freezer for a year. Try using that. But before you do, maybe you should cover your kitchen floor in drop cloths. Damn, does that stuff make a mess.

I had my heart set on making this dish. I am a huge Jamie Oliver fan and am so happy that he finally has a new show on the food network (I miss the Naked Chef so!). Although 8:30 on a Saturday morning is asking a little much of me, I TiVO it and watch it faithfully when I finally roll out of bed. This recipe called to me one Saturday morning and I knew it had to be dinner for the next day. I went out and bought the right size tart pan (unnecessary, I know, but worth it) and was ready on Sunday to make a great little tart. I wasn't ready for the phyllo. It was too much for me and it got everywhere. My kitty was eating it out of her food dish by the time I was done with it. BUT! I forged on and the tart came into being. And it was great. Dave and I both went back for seconds and we ate the leftovers at room temperature on our drive to Nebraska that next week. I bet it would be even better with the really fresh, local asparagus from the farmers market... there may be another tart in my future.

Crispy and Delicious Asparagus and Potato Tart
adapted from Jamie at Home by Jamie Oliver
1 pound potatoes, peeled and cut into chunks
Sea salt
1 pound asparagus spears, woody ends removed
8 ounces filo pastry
1/2 cup butter, melted
1/2 cup freshly grated Lancashire cheese
1/2 cup freshly grated Cheddar
3 large organic or free-range eggs
1 (8-ounce) container heavy cream
1/4 whole fresh nutmeg
Freshly ground black pepper
Put your potatoes into a pan of salted boiling water and cook for 15 minutes. Meanwhile blanch your asparagus in a separate pan of salted boiling water for 4 minutes, and drain in a colander.
Preheat the oven to 375 degrees F.

Get an ovenproof dish - I've used many different shapes and sizes. Layer the sheets of filo pastry in the dish, brushing them with melted butter as you go and letting about 1-inch hang over the edge. You want to get the pastry about 5 layers thick. Put a clean, damp kitchen towel over the top and put aside.

When the potatoes are done, mash them with the cheeses. In a separate bowl, mix together the eggs and cream and stir into your cheesy mashed potato. Grate in the nutmeg, season well with pepper and mix together. Spread the mashed potato over the filo pastry, then bring up the sides of the filo and scrunch them together to form a rim. Take your blanched asparagus and line them up across the filling, making sure you cover it all. Brush all over with the remaining melted butter and pop into the preheated oven for around 20 minutes, or until golden and crisp. Allow to rest for 10 minutes. Serve just as you would a quiche for a quick lunch or supper, with a salad.

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