Generally as summer approaches and the days get warmer my thoughts turn even more to salads and summer foods. Sadly this year the weather isn’t helping much, and is more suggestive of casseroles and stews than salads but we live in hope and meanwhile here’s a lovely summery tart to enjoy whatever the weather.
Salmon and watercress tart with salad and asparagus © Sue Todd Photography 2016
There’s quite a few recipes for salmon tart around and they all seem to use masses more salmon than I did, but actually this was enough and gave us eight portions of tart.
Can you call pastry, pastry if it doesn’t use wheat flour? Just a pointless thought, excuse me. I didn’t have any buckwheat flour which is what I’d intended to use, when I set out to make this but didn’t want to use wheat flour, so I’ve used rice flour but next time I’ll swap that out too. Its fun to experiment and its rare that things are inedible, though it can happen, so feel free to experiment too.
Ingredients for the Pastry Base
- 2 1/2 ounces of rice flour
- 2 ounces of sorghum flour
- 2 ounces of sesame flour
- 1/2 ounce hemp seeds
- 1 1/2 teaspoons of xanthan gum
- 1/2 teaspoon of sea salt
- 3 1/2 ounces of butter
- 1 small egg
- 4 tablespoons of cold water, more if needed
Ingredients for the filling:
- 2-3 handfuls of watercress
- 4 tablespoons of water
- 3/4 cup milk
- 1 bay leaf
- Salt and pepper to taste
- 8 1/2 ounces of salmon
- 4 large eggs
- 3/4 cup of double cream
- Pinch of freshly grated nutmeg
- 1 tablespoon of chopped dill
- 2-3 sage leaves, chopped
- 1 leek, finely chopped
- 1 shallot, finely chopped
Method for the Pastry
Pastry lined tart tin © Sue Todd Photography 2016
If you like doing things the old-fashioned way then tip the flours, xanthan gum and salt into a bowl and rub it together until you have a crumb like structure. Of if you have hands like mine that can no longer manage that stick it all in the stand mixer with the k-beater and mix on low-speed until you have crumbs. It’s much faster and while its more washing up you can do other things while its mixing. On the Kitchen Aid I use speed 2.
Add the egg and mix up again. Next start adding water, and mix until the dough begins to form a ball. Don’t be tempted to put less water in just because it seems to come together with the egg, it won’t stay together – as I found, it really does need a good bit of moisture. Chill for an hour before using.
If you’re using a conventional oven pre-heat it to 400F.
Butter your tart tin in readiness.
Method – to prepare the filling:
Poaching Salmon © Sue Todd Photography 2016.
Check over the watercress and give it a good wash. Dry it using a clean tea towel or salad spinner.
Wilt the watercress in a saucepan in the four tablespoons of water. For about 3 minutes, stirring gently, then remove from the heat. Squeeze the watercress gently to remove excess water and chop it finely before setting to one side for a moment.
Put 3/4 of the cup of milk into a heavy based frying or sauté pan along with your bay leaf and salt and pepper to taste (as in a pinch of each). Heat the milk through and when it starts to simmer add the salmon and poach it for around 3-4 minutes. Remove from the heat and leave it for around 10 minutes so that the flavours infuse, then lift the salmon out of the milk. Don’t discard the cooking liquid, we’re going to use it. Drain the salmon carefully and crumble on to a plate or chopping board and put to one side. Do watch for bones.
Leeks and shallot cooking © Sue Todd Photography 2016
Strain the milk mixture through a sieve and measure out 1/4 cup of it to add to a bowl with the eggs and cream. Season with salt and pepper to taste and add the freshly grated nutmeg and herbs.
Empty the pan you used for the spinach and add about 2 tablespoons of oil to it and heat through before popping in the leeks and shallot. Cook without browning until they are soft, about 5 minutes or so.
Method: Assemble and cook the tart
Flour a board or counter top and roll the pastry out gently to fit your flan or tart case. Lift the pastry gently and fit into the tin or dish. Cut the edges back to fit and prick the bottom of the pastry case with a fork.
Salmon and watercress tart Sue Todd Photography 2016
Take a sheet of greaseproof paper or baking parchment, wet it under the cold tap and crumple well. Straighten it out and line the pastry case with the damp paper. Tip in baking beans and pop your pastry case into the oven to prebake for about 10 minutes. I used the baking oven of the AGA for mine.
Remove the tart base from the oven and lift out the baking beans. I remember the first time I ever used these I omitted the parchment – what a time I had removing those beans and leaving the pastry intact! I always have a bowl on hand to tip them into to cool. Pop the pastry case back into the oven for a a further five minutes.
Salmon and watercress tart ready for the oven © Sue Todd Photography 2016
Next add the leeks and shallot, then the watercress and finally the salmon before pouring over the egg mix you prepared earlier.
The tart now needs to bake for around 30 to 35 minutes until the top is lightly golden and the tart has set nicely. If you decide to use individual tart tins or dishes then reduce the cooking time to about 20 minutes. Let the tart sit for about 10 minutes before serving.
Salmon and watercress tart with asparagus © Sue Todd Photography 2016
Lovely served with salad, any leftover tart is great the next day. Serve hot or cold.