Bacon, asparagus and cipollini onion tart with watercress salad and herb vinaigrette

This is a super simple, tasty and beautiful dish to make. There is  something satisfying about making your own dough and this recipe adapted from The Complete Robuchon is about as easy as a dough can get. Filled with bacon, asparagus, onions and eggs, this dish can double as a savory dinner tonight and leftovers for breakfast tomorrow morning. This recipe will make two eight-inch tarts, enough to feed 4-6 people. 

For the dough you'll need

  • 1.5 cups sifted flour
  • Pinch of salt
  • 1 egg yolk
  • 1/4 pound of butter, diced
  • 5 Tbsp water

Put all the flour into a mixing bowl large enough to comfortably mix the dough by hand. First, form a well in the middle of the flour and add your egg yolk, salt and butter. With your hands, mix the ingredients and work in the butter until the mixture resembles bread crumbs. Add the water and quickly work it into the dough until everything is fully incorporated, but do not over mix it. Finally, flatten the dough, wrap in it in plastic wrap and place it in the fridge to cool down for approximately 30 minutes.

For the filling you'll need

  • 20 Tbsp heavy cream
  • 20 Tbsp whole milk
  • 8 eggs, mixed
  • 1/2 pound smoky bacon, cut into lardons (matchstick wide strips)
  • 10 asparagus spears snapped and cut into rounds (matchstick wide as well)
  • 4 medium cipollini onions peeled and thinly sliced

In a pan on medium heat, cook the bacon until its almost crisp. Add the cipollini onions and continue cooking until they are translucent, about 5 minutes. Add your asparagus to the pan and turn off the flame letting the residual heat cook the asparagus through. Season with salt and pepper to taste. In a separate mixing bowl, combine the milk, cream and eggs and mix until they are incorporated. Add your bacon mixture into the eggs and set aside. 

Next, take your dough out of the fridge and split it in half. Press each dough ball into a burger shape and roll out to about 1/8 inch thick or to the size of your baking pan on a generously floured work surface. Grease your baking pan with butter and lay your rolled dough into the pan. Trim any excess dough that hangs over the side of the pan and save that for a mini tart for another day. 

It's now time to blind bake the dough. This process allows the dough to get a head start in the cooking process which should ultimately leave you with a crispier crust. Pre-heat your oven to 350 degrees. Take a piece of parchment paper thats large enough to fill the tart pan and lay it over the dough. With either rice or beans, fill the parchment paper so that the paper is laying tightly against the dough, this will ensure that the dough bakes flat and doesn't become misshapen. Place your bean filled tarts in the oven and bake until the crust just starts to become golden, about 15 minutes. Pull the parchment paper and the beans out and bake the crust for 2 more minutes to get the interior crust slightly browned. Once the interior of the shells are browned you can pour in your egg mixture (make sure its seasoned with salt and pepper to your liking) and bake for another 45 minutes or until you can pull out a knife cleanly without any egg residue coming off on it.

For the watercress and herb vinaigrette salad you'll need

  • 1 small shallot diced
  • 2 lemons, juiced
  • 1/4 cup finely minced parsley, chive and dill
  • Olive oil
  • A couple handfuls of watercress

In a small bowl, pour your lemon juice over the diced shallots. Let that sit while your eggs bake. Separately take your minced herbs and cover them with olive oil. Right before serving your tart, mix the bowls shooting for a ratio of 1/3 lemon juice to 2/3's olive oil. Season with salt and dress your watercress with the herb vinaigrette. To serve, cut a 1/4 tart out of the pan, drizzle a little vinaigrette on the plate and place your salad gently on top. Enjoy!


Jon WIpfliComment