John’s always been a sucker for anything with puff pastry, and who isn’t? These spring tartlets couldn’t be easier to put together, all you need is four main ingredients and 25 minutes to cook!
FOR THE PESTO AND TOMATO TARTLETS
500g block puff pastry (all-butter)
Plain flour, for dusting
1 egg, beaten
2 tbsp pesto
8 plum tomatoes, sliced
Salt and ground black pepper
10ml peppery olive oil
Heat the oven to 220C/430F/Gas 7. Line a baking sheet with baking paper.
Prep the pastry. On a lightly floured worktop, roll the puff pastry out until about 2cm thick. You will need to cut four circular discs from the pastry so you need to find a small plate or saucer that’s about 16cm in diameter to use as a template. Place the plate over the pastry and run a knife around the edge to cut out the first disc. Repeat until you have four.
Now you need to lightly score a margin about 1.5-2cm in from the edge of the pastry discs, so find a smaller plate or bowl that you can use as a template. Place the smaller plate in the centre of each pastry disc and lightly run a knife around the edge, being careful not to cut all the way through.
Lift the disks onto the baking sheet and brush with the beaten egg. With a fork, prick the inner circle but not the outer edge – this will stop the pastry from rising in the middle but allows the outer edge of the tart to rise up.
Build the tarts. Spread the pesto over the inner circle of each tart. Place the tops and bottoms of the tomatoes in the centre of the tarts, then start to lay the slices on top of the pesto so they overlap and create a swirl effect. Season.
Bake the tarts for 20-25 minutes until well risen. Mix the watercress with the olive oil and serve.
FOR THE SPRING SALAD
10 asparagus spears, sliced into 7cm lengths at an angle
150g broad beans
150g soya beans
150g fresh or frozen peas
3 spring onions, sliced into 7.5cm lengths at an angle
Olive oil, for drizzling
15 mint leaves, 10 leaves torn and 5 leaves shredded
Salt and freshly ground black pepper
Optional: pecorino cheese
For the dressing:
1 tablespoon dijon mustard
75ml red wine vinegar
300ml extra virgin olive oil
1 teaspoon walnut oil
Bring a large pan of salted water to the boil. Drop in the asparagus, bring the water back to the boil, then add the broad beans, soya beans, peas and spring onions. Bring back to the boil until they are cooked. Drain and cool quickly under cold running water.
Spread the cooked vegetables on a tray and place in the fridge for 10 minutes to cool. Sprinkle the veg with a little olive oil and season with salt and pepper.
Make the dressing. Spoon the mustard and vinegar into a small bowl and whisk until blended. Slowly pour in the oils, whisking all the time, until the dressing is thickish (like a sauce). Season with a good whack of sea salt and black pepper.
Put the chilled veg in a pretty serving dish, add the mint (torn and shredded) and mix together, then splatter with some dressing. Or try...sprinkle some pecorino shavings over the top.