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Wednesday, April 22, 2015

Webb City Farmers Market Demo: Spring Vegetable and Goat Cheese Tart


I had the pleasure of putting on a cooking demonstration/sampling at the first Spring season Saturday at the Webb City Farmers Market, this past weekend. I wanted to prepare something that screamed "SPRING!" Looking around the market, you could see asparagus coming in, spring onions, fresh herb plants, and goat cheese from Terrell Creek Farm. What better way to highlight some of these spring arrivals than to create a savory tart from all of them! Not to mention how eggs are such a symbol of the rebirth of all things living in the Spring.

The sampling went wonderfully! I estimate that I handed out over 120 samples, and visited with so many fantastic people visiting the market. I love talking about food, and helping others discover the joy of food and how cooking can empower us. I look forward to my next Market appearance!
Without further adieu, here is the recipe for this stunning looking and as delicious Spring Vegetable and Goat Cheese Tart:  
Spring Vegetable and Goat Cheese Tart
Savory Tart Dough **See Notes Below**
1-1/4 lb asparagus, trimmed
5 spring onions (or 10 scallions)
3 Tblsp olive oil
salt & pepper
1 Tblsp unsalted butter
8 oz goat cheese (chevre), at room temperature
1/4 C crème fraîche **See Notes Below**
1/4 C heavy cream
1 Tblsp fresh flat-leaf parsley, finely chopped
1 Tblsp fresh chives, finely chopped
2 Tblsp fresh tarragon, finely chopped
3 eggs
1.  Preheat oven to 425°.
2.  Prepare your vegetables. Cut approximately 1 inch off the tips of the asparagus spears.
     Slice the remaining spears into 1/4 inch rounds. Slice the green tops off the spring
     onions. Trim the bulbs and cut into quarters (halves if using scallions). Slice the green
     tops into 1/4 rounds.

3.  Toss the asparagus tips and onion greens in a bowl with 2 Tblsp of the olive oil. Season
     with salt & pepper. Place on a baking sheet in a single layer and roast in the oven for
     approximately 15 minutes, turning at least once. When the asparagus tips are tender and
     the onion quarters beginning to brown, remove from oven. Reduce oven to 375º.

4.  Heat the remaining 1 Tblsp of olive oil and butter in a pan over medium-high heat. Add
     the sliced rounds and sauté until tender, approximately 5 to 8 minutes.

5.  Spread the sautéed and cooled asparagus and onion rounds evenly over the bottom of
     the tart crust.

6.  Whisk together the goat cheese, crème  fraîche, heavy cream, and fresh herbs. Season
     with salt & pepper, and whisk in the eggs.

7.  Pour the egg filling over the vegetables in the tart shell. Top with the roasted asparagus
     tips and onion quarters.

8.  Bake until edges of crust are golden and filling is set, approximately 20 minutes. Let cool
     in pan at least 30 minutes, before removing and slicing.

I suggest serving this dish with a Hefeweizen or Witbier. Either beer works well with the goat cheese and eggs, often difficult foods with which to pair. You could get the typical imported brands, but I urge you to seek out local options. For me, in Missouri, I suggest Boulevard ZON for the Witbier and Schlafly Hefeweizen, available year round.
If you are a wine person, I would suggest a Sauvignon Blanc.

Frank's Notes:

1.  There are many recipes for tart dough. In fact, you can even purchase a frozen pie crust, thaw and remove from pan, roll out to approximately 12 inch circle, and use it in the tart pan. To make it simpler, or if you do not have a tart pan, you can just use the crust, as-is. If that is the case, you may need to increase your baking time, slightly.

Here is a basic savory tart crust:

6-3/4 oz (~1-1/2 C) all purpose flour
1/4 tsp + pinch salt
4-1/2 oz (9 Tblsp) unsalted butter, cut into small pieces and chilled
4 Tblsp ice water

Combine the flour, salt, and butter in a food processor until it resembles pebbles. Add the water and pulse until it starts to come together. Remove to a floured surface and work the dough into a ball, flatten into a 1-1/2 inch thick disk, and wrap in plastic wrap. Chill for about an hour.

Remove the dough, and roll out into 1/8 inch thick circle. Place in tart pan and press gently into the bottom and sides. Prick lightly with a fork. Place parchment or foil inside the shell, and fill with pie weights or beans. Bake at 425º for 10 minutes. Remove the weights and parchment and bake an additional 6 to 8 minutes. Allow crust to cool before filling.

2.  The major advantage of crème fraîche is the ability to heat it without it curdling. This is
due to the high fat content, at 30%. This becomes very important when cooking with it in high heat applications. Since this tart is baked, and there are other fats present, you may substitute sour cream. Crème fraîche can often be difficult to find! You could even go as far as to make your own:

Combine 2 Tblsp of buttermilk with 2 C of heavy cream in a clean glass jar. Cover with cheesecloth or clean tea towel. Let sit on counter for anywhere from 8 to 24 hours, until thickened. Cover and refrigerate 24 hours before using. This should keep in the refrigerator for up to 2 weeks.

Webb City Farmers Market is now open on Tuesday evening from 4pm-7pm, Friday from 11am-2pm, and Saturday morning from 9am-12pm.

You can find more information on their Facebook page or website.

You can find Terrell Creek Farm information on their Facebook page or website.

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