What is it about spring vegetables? You see, my very favourite veggies in the world all live their short lives in the springtime: purple sprouting broccoli, broad beans and asparagus.
growing up, we had an enormous asparagus patch. My father has always been equally besotted with these sharp green spears and he would send us out to collect them by the bucketful. It was always a sad day when we couldn't find any more edible spears amongst the asparagus forest. Being a meat and two veg kinda guy, he liked them steamed with butter.
As I cook my own meals, I have to say that there are really only two ways to eat asparagus: grilled with a bit of oil, salt and pepper or paired in some way with eggs.
It must be the smooth creaminess of eggs that sets off the sharp fresh taste of the asparagus. Add some bacon, goats cheese and whole hazelnuts and you have culinary heaven (a fact that Tantie set me on to).
Now, I suppose I should give a recipe here, but truth be told, I usually just wing things like this...sometimes its more of a frittata with potatoes, sometimes I go the whole hog and actually use shortcrust pastry.The number of eggs usually depends on the size of the pan.
But here goes:
Asparagus, Goat's Cheese and Bacon Pie (ala Tantie):
1 bunch of asparagus - about 7 spears (We don't grow our own because for the last 4 years we've been saying that we're gonna move soon...and we're not putting one in this year because, we're gonna move soon)
4 large eggs
3/4cup (1800ml) milk
1 cup (100g) of hazelnuts
1/2 cup (100g) soft goats cheese
3 rashers of bacon (I like smoked)
dash of nutmeg
salt and pepper
shortcrust pastry (I get mine from the butcher as its better than anything I can make)
:: Line a large pie tin with the pastry or if you want to make a frittata, oil and line the bottom with 2-3 layers of thinly sliced potatoes
:: In a large bowl, whisk the eggs and milk together. Add the nutmeg, salt and pepper and whole hazelnuts.
:: Finely chop the bacon.
:: Roughly chop the asparagus into good sized chuncks (3cm/1in pieces)
:: Add the bacon and asparagus to the egg mix
:: Break up the goat cheese and fold it gently into the egg mix
:: Pour into pan and bake for 45min in 360F/180C preheated oven. Top should be lightly brown and the eggs firm.
TIP: I usually underestimate the number of eggs to use, because in these kind of dishes its always easy to whisk up another egg and a bit of milk and pour it into the pie if its looking a bit dry.