October 20 is Garden Day in South Africa. We’re celebrating … and so should you.
If you’re throwing a garden party to celebrate Garden Day, here’s the perfect dish to serve from chefs Luke and Jess (formerly of The Table at De Meye).
Veggie tart & nasturtium pesto
1 sheet frozen ready-made puff pastry, thawed; 1/2 cup crème fraiche; 1/2 cup grated goat’s pecorino; 2 egg yolks; chopped parsley and chives; sea salt and black pepper to taste; 1 Tblsp butter; 8 spring onions; 8 asparagus spears; 1 medium courgette; 1/2 cup peas, fresh or frozen; a handful baby spinach leaves; wild rocket leaves
To make: Preheat an oven to 200°C. In a bowl mix the crème fraiche, half the grated cheese, egg yolks and chopped herbs. Season with sea salt and freshly ground black pepper. Set aside.
Melt butter in a frying pan and cook spring onions until just soft, about 2 – 3 minutes. Season with salt and pepper, and set aside to cool.
Slice the courgette and asparagus thinly. Bring a pan of salted water to the boil and prepare a bowl of ice water. Plunge the asparagus into the boiling water for 10 seconds, then straight into the ice water. Repeat with the courgette. Place asparagus and courgette on kitchen paper to dry. Cook peas until just soft (about 3 minutes). Refresh in ice water and dry on kitchen paper.
Trim puff pastry sheet to fit a small rectangular baking tray lined with baking paper. Cut a border about 2cm from the pastry edge, using a small sharp knife and making a shallow incision. Spread crème fraiche mixture over the pastry (avoiding the border) and bake in the preheated oven for 15 minutes.
Arrange spring onions on top of the tart, followed by baby spinach leaves, courgette and asparagus spears. Return to the oven for 8 to 10 minutes.
Finish the tart with the extra grated cheese, rocket leaves and cooked baby peas.
You’ll need: 2 Tblsps pumpkin seeds, toasted; 2 cups nasturtium leaves and tender stems; 1 clove garlic; 1 spring onion, ends trimmed and sliced; 1/2 cup freshly grated goat’s pecorino cheese; 1/2 cup extra-virgin olive oil; sea salt and lemon juice to taste
To make: Place the seeds, nasturtium leaves, garlic, onion and cheese in a blender. Slowly add olive oil while blender is running, until smooth paste is formed. Season to taste with salt and lemon juice. (Pumpkin seeds can be substituted with toasted pine nuts, and goat’s pecorino with Parmesan if preferred).
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