The joy of the storecupboard: Lucas Hollweg’s pea and Parmesan tart

Two of my favourite storecupboard ingredients are ready-rolled pastry and frozen peas. The former lends itself to tarts, onion or roasted tomato or Flammekueche and the latter, a newcomer to my kitchen, can be turned into a soup, pesto or salad with barely any effort at all. So when they were practically all I had on this wet wet day, a pea tart seemed like a very good idea.

This recipe comes from Lucas Hollweg’s Good Things to Eat, which I have meant to cook from for ages. I’ve always liked his column in Waitrose Kitchen, mainly because in very few words and pages he always gives me an idea or two and his book is the same. Having re-perused it for this, I have now flagged about twenty recipes that I want to try (roast chicken with chicory, leek and mascarpone risotto, chocolate marmalade slump cake…), all of which fit my desire for stuff that is easy and relatively short on ingredients and time.

It’s also perfectly adaptable which is something I love. The original recipe includes asparagus but it’s long past the season so I just stuck to peas. I also didn’t have the required amount of spring onions (125g) so supplemented them with half a leek and used soured cream rather than crème fraîche. It still worked and it was, is, delicious. Lovely for a midweek when you need waders to get to the supermarket…

Makes enough for 3-4, with a salad on the side

You will also need a loose-bottomed 23cm tart tin or equivalent.

Cupboard (or things you may already have)
frozen peas, 100g
butter, a small lump
garlic clove
Parmesan, 25g
egg yolks, 2
salt and pepper
a little extra-virgin olive oil

Shopping list
shortcrust pastry, either ready-rolled or make your own, about 320g
spring onions, 125g
soured cream or crème fraîche, 200ml
large handful of mint leaves.

How to
1. Remove the peas from the freezer and leave to defrost (this usually takes about 10-12 minutes, depending on the time of year).
2. If the pastry is not fridge-cold already, chill it for 30 minutes (if you need to do this, jump to step 7, while you wait, and prep the filling).
3. Put a flat baking sheet in the oven then preheat the oven to 190°C/170°C fan-assisted/gas 5.
4. When the pastry is chilled, if you need to, flour a work surface then roll the pastry out into a circle slightly larger than the tart tin. Then line the tin with the pastry, making sure that there are no holes and letting the pastry overhang the edge a little (it will shrink in the oven). Prick the base of the pastry all over with a fork, line with baking parchment then chill it again for 15 minutes.
5. Cover the baking parchment with some baking beans (I use uncooked rice) then bake for about 10 minutes until the edge is nice and golden.
6. Remove the tin from the oven and lower the temperature to 180°C/160°C fan-assisted/gas 4. Remove the beans/paper and return to the oven for another 10 minutes until the base is golden and dryish.
7. Trim and finely chop the spring onions (white and green parts) then soften them in the butter over a lowish heat. Try not to let them colour. Remove from the heat.
8. Peel and finely chop or crush the garlic and grate the Parmesan.
9. Mix the onions with the soured cream, garlic, Parmesan and egg yolks, and once defrosted, stir in the peas and most of the mint leaves (save a few for decoration).
10. Tip the mixture into the pastry case, smooth the surface if necessary then bake for about 25-30 minutes, until the top is golden brown.
11. Remove from the oven, drizzle over a little olive oil and leave to cool. Serve warm or at room temperature with the last few mint leaves scattered over the top.



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