Let’s face it…who has time to make puff pastry. Especially if you aren’t great at the baking. And definitely if its middle of the week from hell.
Celeb chefs have been singing the praises of ready made puff pastry for the “meal in a hurry” for a good few years, and as far as cheats ingredients go, this has to be at the top of my list that can include ready made pastry cases and ready made pickles. A short but useful list!
Puff pastry’s versatility for savoury dishes is a huge benefit to the time pressed home cook, the only thing that limits you is your imagination!
I make savoury puff pastry tarts (or “galettes”) fairly regularly and they are a great way to use up some left over bits and pieces from the fridge, so because of that I always keep a pack of ready made puff pastry in the freezer ready to go.
This recipe makes the most of some great local ingredients including wonderful Smoked Gubbeen Cheese, farm fresh local and organic asparagus and local free range eggs. Adding a generous spreading of dijon mustard helps to bring much needed zing and heat to add interest to the tart.
- 1 sheet of ready made puff pastry (defrosted)
- 1 bunch of new season asparagus, trimmed
- 1 packet of Serrano / Parma ham
- Dijon mustard
- Smoked Gubbeen (or other smoked hard cheese)
- 4 large free range eggs
- Thyme leaves, sea salt and black pepper.
- Lightly dust the work surface with some plain flour before laying out the defrosted puff pastry sheet.
- If you have a rolling pin, just given it a quick roll in all directions.
- Take a pallet knife and about 3cms from the edge, gently mark in a line all the way around the sheet of pastry as though you are creating a frame.
- Inside the “frame” take a fork and stab the fork into the pastry. This should help the pastry from puffing up in the middle but don’t worry if this happens.
- Place in the oven and cook as per packet instructions.
- Meanwhile, blanche the asparagus for just a couple of minutes, drain then slice down the middle. Set aside.
- In a hot pan with a little oil, place the Serrano / Parma ham and turn a couple of times to cook until coloured and slightly crispy.
- Turn out onto some kitchen towel to drain. This will crisp us as it cools.
- When the pastry is cooked, take out of the oven, and if the pastry has puffed up in the middle, press is back down – you don’t have to be gentle about this!
- Using a pallet knife, spread some dijon mustard over the pastry. Using a Y-shaped vegetable peeler, peel strips of smoked Gubbeen cheese directly onto the pastry sheet. Add on top the sliced asparagus.
- Crack on top of that the four eggs, and then finally add on top the crispy ham. Scatter some fresh thyme leaves and grind some fresh black pepper on top.
- Place back in the oven and cook for a further 10-15 minutes until the egg whites are set and cooked. The egg yolks should still be a little runny.
- Take out of the oven and slice into four pieces. Serve up on warm plates with a green salad of baby spinach leaves.