Sunday 8 May 2011

Best of British Seasonal Produce

As the festivities of Easter and the Royal Wedding are behind us, the supermarkets have now started focusing on their fresh in-season produce once again. As I entered the supermarket this week, I chanced upon the perfect combination of in-season foods positioned enticingly at the front of the store – Fresh British Asparagus and Baby Jersey Royal New Potatoes.

It is only since I have had children that I’ve started noticing the seasons more and the food produced in each. From cooking hearty winter stews with carrots, onions, and potatoes in the winter, preparing delicate asparagus and leeks in the spring and devouring mouthwatering British strawberries in the summer, to berries, apples and pears available as the leaves change to russet and gold through Autumn, seasonal fresh British produce features highly in my menu preparation throughout the year. British produce has a reduced carbon footprint, and is a great way to teach the kids about the seasons and eating healthily. It is also kind to the purse as seasonal food is generally cheaper than its imported counterparts.

As a child, I have happy memories of going to the local pick your own farm and picking all kinds of fruit and vegetables, and even fonder memories of blackberrying with my grandparents in their local woods and then returning to my Grandmother’s house to make blackberry and apple pies, crumbles, and whatever else we could think of.  As an adult, I must admit that I always get slightly excited when I see fresh British produce in the supermarket.  Every year I wait in anticipation for British strawberries to hit the supermarkets – they taste like no other and the Spanish versions do not compare. I also enjoy asparagus season, and so to find it on special offer in the supermarket last week sent my mind racing with the possibilities of things to cook.

I chose this recipe to showcase the Asparagus and Jersey Royals together. Also, with National Tomato Week and National Vegetarian Week happening this month, this recipe incorporates in-season food and raises awareness of great vegetarian fare. The asparagus tart tasted delicious, and the small, golden nugget potatoes tasted wonderful drizzled in butter. To find out more about asparagus and where it is grown click here.

Roast Asparagus, Tomato & Cheese Tart, 
served with Jersey Royal New Potatoes and 
Rocket Salad


·         175g plain white flour
·         Salt
·         75g chilled butter
·         1 medium egg, separated

·         100g bunch asparagus tips, about 16 spears, trimmed
·         8 baby cherry tomatoes, halved
·         2 cloves garlic, peeled and finely chopped
·         1tsp Oregano 
1    1tsp Thyme
·         2tbsp olive oil
·         50g Vegetarian Parmesan cheese
·         250g tub mascarpone cheese
·         4 medium eggs

To Accompany:
500g Jersey Royal New Potatoes
Pre-packed Fresh Wild Rocket salad

1.    To make the pastry, sift the flour and a pinch of salt into the bowl.  Cut the butter into small cubes and then rub into the flour.  Separate an egg and whisk the yolk with 3 tbsp of water.  Form into a dough with a round knife and knead together lightly to form an oblong.  Cover with cling film and chill for 30 minutes. 

2.    When chilled, remove from the fridge and roll out the pastry onto a lightly floured surface.  Line the tin with the pastry, prick the base and chill in the fridge whilst the oven heats up.  Put the oven on at 200°c, gas mark 6.  Line the pastry case with baking paper and baking beans.  Bake blind for 10 minutes near the bottom of the oven.

3.    Remove from the oven, remove the paper and beans, and bake for another 10 minutes to set the pastry.  Meanwhile, beat the egg white and brush a little over the pastry.  Put back in the oven for 5 minutes.

4.    Meanwhile, lay the asparagus and halved tomatoes on a baking tray, skin side down.  Scatter with the garlic and evenly distribute the tarragon or oregano.  Season, and drizzle with oil.  Roast for 15 minutes and then set aside when cooked

5.    Lower the oven to 190°C, gas mark 5.  Sprinkle half the parmesan on the base of the flan.  Beat the mascarpone in a large bowl to soften, then beat in the eggs and add seasoning.  Pour the mixture into in the flan case, and then arrange the asparagus and tomatoes in the flan, pushing them down gently.  Sprinkle with the remainder of the parmesan cheese.  Bake for 35 minutes until just set

6.    Boil the kettle, add boiled water to the steamer and then cook the Jersey Royals for 15-20 minutes until firm on the outside and soft on the inside.  When cooked, remove from heat, and drain.

7.    When the flan is cooked, remove from the oven.   The flan and potatoes can be served warm or cold.


  1. Hi Clare, great post, the tart looks delicious. Lovely to highlight National Tomato Week and National Vegetarian Week as well as all this lovely seasonal produce. Thanks for entering "Simple and in Season" Ren

  2. I'm with you on the comment about British strawberried. Lovely tart.



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