Smoked Salmon & Asparagus Tart
Wey is writing his last paper this moment. He came home yesterday and chased the chickens (yes, chickens. I 'acquired' 4 kampung chickens last month. They are cute. They sleep in trees. Does anyone know how to make them sit on their eggs?), watched TV and chat on the computer. By 9 pm, I lost control. I had to nag. Motherhood makes a woman a nagger. "Are you ready for your KH (Life/Home Skills) exam?" I asked. "Easy peasy, I always score below 40 marks." "Oh, wow, that's 80%" "Mom, it's out of 60 marks." Right, great revelation. I made him sit down, with 2 Malay-English dictionaries on the table.
It is unfortunate that I've never really looked at his KH textbook. KH is a half credit subject and there's only one textbook. It is not a compulsory-to-pass subject so most students treat it as a waste of their time. I never look at ithe textbook because my BM level only helps me read letters from the government. I always tell my kids, and I mean it, that BM is a beautiful language (to which Wey would nod) and very easy to learn, if only we read and practise it. So there I was, going through the chapter on consumerism and checking every fourth word (by the way, what is berubal?), and getting more and more angry with Wey, who had his head on the table, and nodded just to keep me going. When I looked up at one point and saw he had his eyes closed, I just had it. (I won't tell you what I did, but Wey often tells me,"If we were in Canada, you'd be in jail for child abuse." Why isn't there a law for abused parents?) I wish I had spent time with him on this subject which I used to think was a waste of time but turned out to be very interesting and informative. KH is useful to learn and easy to score. I have to remind myself of the Chinese saying, "If the cow doesn't want to drink, how do you make it dip its head?"
Ah well. Let's cook. My fridge is acting up and the stuff in the bottom drawer occasionally freezes. I had a packet of smoked salmon that froze. After thawing, it was mushy and disgusting. So it went into this smoked salmon and asparagus tart which was good but not as tasty as this salmon bacon quiche, I thought. However, Wey loves it and thinks the salmon and asparagus combination is great and for someone who hates fish and loves bacon, that's a big surprise.
Smoked Salmon And Asparagus Tart
1 1/4 cups all-purpose flour
1/3 t salt
125 g cold butter, in small cubes
5 T very cold water
prep: pre-heat oven at 180 C.
1. Sift flour and salt into a bowl. Use a pastry cutter to cut the butter into the flour, working the mixture until it becomes an evenly mixed crumbly mixture (I can never get them to look like fine breadcrumbs).
2. Add the cold water and use a fork to mix into a dough; do not overmix.
3. Chill for at least 1/2 hour.
4. Roll pastry into a large circle enough to cover the bottom and sides of a removable-bottom round tart pan of 9 1/2" or 24 cm, drap it over the rolling pin and transfer onto the pan. Trim excess edges.
5. Put a piece of foil on the tart base, add beans or even metal spoons to weigh down the pastry so it won't puff. Pop tart into oven for 10 minutes, then carefully remove the weights and the foil and let tart toast another 15-20 minutes. Remove from oven.
1 large egg + 2 egg yolks
200 g smoked salmon, torn into small pieces
1 cup heavy cream
pinch of salt and pepper
pinch of fresh dil l (optional)
12 spears of thin asparagus
1 heaped T grated sharp cheddar
prep: snap the hard ends off the asparagus; discard. Blanch the asparagus for a few seconds, drain. Trim the asparagus to the radius of your tart. Snip the trimmed stems (not the spear ends) into 1" lengths.
1. Whisk the eggs, add the heavy cream, dill, cheddar and seasoning and mix well.
2. Scatter the torn/flaked salmon & 1" asparagus trimmings on the tart base, pour in the filling and bake at 180 C for 10 minutes.
3. Arranged the blanched asparagus spears around the tart, like the face of a clock. Return to the oven for another 20 minutes.
4. Let the tart cool a little and firm up before cutting.