kindkit: Two cups of green tea. (Fandomless: Green tea)
[personal profile] kindkit
Something I've cooked recently: Today I made an asparagus and smoked salmon tart. I couldn't find a recipe that was exactly what I wanted, so I improvised. First, I made a double batch of the flaky pastry from Paul Hollywood's Pies and Puds. This is almost a puff pastry: only about a quarter of the fat is rubbed into the flour, while the rest is layered into the dough as you roll, fold, and turn it. It takes time, especially since I chilled it after the first two turns, chilled it again after the fourth and final turn, and then again after I had rolled it out and lined an 8x12 inch shallow baking sheet with it. I then blind-baked the pastry for almost 25 minutes at 400 F, with the rack in the lower third of the oven and the pan nestled inside a slightly larger pan I had preheated--all this to prevent the dreaded soggy bottom.

After the pastry had cooled, I filled it with a mixture of about 12 oz mascarpone cheese (this was meant to be ricotta, but I got confused by similar packaging and bought mascarpone instead, and by the time I realized it was too late; the result was fine but v v rich), 4 oz hot-smoked salmon (the firm kind that's sold in thick whole pieces, not the delicate, bright red, pre-sliced kind), 2 sliced green onions aka spring onions, 1 large shallot minced and gently sauteed in butter, about half a cup or so of cream to thin the mascarpone, 1 egg to bind, and the grated zest of 1 lemon. Then I topped it with a nice row of asparagus spears I had parboiled until just barely tender. I baked it about 35 minutes, again in the lower third of the oven, at 350 F.

Things that could be improved: I had trouble rolling the pastry out as thin as I wanted, which meant there was still some soggy-ish dough under the filling even though the very bottom was crisp and lovely. Ricotta or a mix of ricotta and mascarpone would cut the somewhat excessive richness. Peel the bottoms of the asparagus, no matter how much of an annoying chore it is. More smoked salmon would not have been a bad idea--it seldom is.

Possible variations: I think the super-flaky pastry is the best match for the flavors and textures, but the tart would be easier and quicker with an ordinary flaky pie pastry or a shortcrust pastry. Would be easier to eat but not nearly as pretty with the asparagus cut up and stirred into the filling. Could omit the lemon zest and add some grated cheese such as Parmiggiano (to the crust and/or the filling) or Gruyere (to the filling). A second egg would make the filling set and cut more cleanly, but would make it too eggy-tasting for me.

I bought some raclette cheese on sale recently, so I've had raclette, or at least raclette adopted for a single person without a fireplace, twice. The first time I went fairly traditional, boiling some new potatoes, then topping them with shredded raclette and broiling until the cheese was all melted and oozy. The second time, I sort of made my own version of chile cheese fries--I cut some baking potatoes into wedges, coated them with oil, salt, and smoked paprika and roasted them until crisp outside and soft inside, and then covered a big mound of them with raclette and broiled.

Something I have concrete plans to cook in the near future: No concrete plans. I need to keep using an opened jar of fermented bean curd I have in the fridge, so I may make this recipe for bean curd with Chinese cabbage and ground pork, or something similar. The weather has been ridiculously warm here for March, so I mostly feel interested in salads and pastas and such.

Something I vaguely plan to cook someday: Oh, everything, as usual. I've been craving seafood, which is a problem because while I love eating it, I really don't love cooking it. Shrimp would be helpful for this, since you can get them conveniently frozen and pre-peeled, but since I've heard about shrimp farms ruining the environment and literally using slave labor, I haven't wanted to buy shrimp. Anybody know of US brands that are okay to buy?

Date: 2017-03-20 09:46 pm (UTC)
el_staplador: (Default)
From: [personal profile] el_staplador
Mmm, raclette. (Actually, all of it sounds absolutely fantastic!)


kindkit: A late-Victorian futuristic zeppelin. (Default)

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