Egg and Spring Vegetable Tart
organic eggs, from the fridge
spring onions, trimmed
baby zucchini, halved lengthways
small podded broad beans
Soft herbs (I use chives, parsley, chervil, tarragon)
Toasted hazelnuts, roughly chopped
Full of spring onions, baby zucchini, and fresh peas, this puff pastry tart from Anna Jones’s The Modern Cook’s Year, is a great way to turn the contents of your CSA box into a colorful at-home brunch.
- Preheat your oven to 390ºF. Crack one of the eggs into a cup with a big pinch of salt, beat well and leave to one side. Fill and boil the kettle.
- Spread your puff pastry out on a cold baking tray, roll the pastry out a little bigger than an A4-sized piece of paper, then trim a 1cm strip from each side and put to one side. Working quickly, prick the base all over with a fork and lightly brush with the beaten egg. Put the trimmed pastry pieces back on the base along each edge, forming a raised edge that will keep the filling in. Egg wash the top of those too.
- Put the spring onions and baby courgettes on a baking tray, drizzle with a little olive oil and season with salt and pepper. Bake, along with the puff pastry case, for 20–25 minutes until the vegetables are golden and the pastry is really crispy.
- Meanwhile, pour a little boiling water over the broad beans, allow to cool, then pop each one out of its tough outer skin, leaving the bright green bean. If you have small young broad beans there’s no need to do this – you can use them as they are.
- As soon as the pastry comes out of the oven, press down the middle rectangle of the base (which will have puffed up a little), leaving yourself a nice border around the outside.
- Mix the crème fraîche with the mustard and a little salt and pepper and spread it over the crispy pastry, keeping it within the border. Arrange the courgettes and spring onions over the top, then make four little spaces to crack the eggs into. Stop here if you are preparing the tart in advance, then cover and keep it in the fridge.
- When you are nearly ready to eat, take the eggs out of the fridge and really carefully crack each one into a little cup. As an egg ages, some of the white turns watery and you want to lose this bit, leaving only the freshest part; it means the white will hold its shape during the cooking and won’t run all over the tart. Pour the first egg into your cupped hand, with your fingers closed, and let the very watery part of the white drain off. Gently place the egg in one of the spaces, repeating with the other three, then sprinkle over the broad beans and bake for 15–20 minutes, until the egg whites are set and the yolks are still a little soft.
- Remove the tart from the oven, grate over the zest of the lemon and scatter over the herbs and hazelnuts.
From The Modern Cook’s Year by Anna Jones, published by Abrams Books © 2019. Photo credit: 4th Estate and Ana Cuba