Asparagus puff pastry tartlets with tapenade, poached egg and bacon crumble

Asparagus puff pastry tartlets with tapenade, poached egg and bacon crumble. Photograph: Harry Weir

Asparagus puff pastry tartlets with tapenade, poached egg and bacon crumble. Photograph: Harry Weir

Sat, May 14, 2016, 03:00

   
  • Serves: 6
  • Cooking Time: 30 mins
  • Course: Main Course
  • Cuisine: French

Ingredients

  • Serves six
  • 24 x 10cm pieces of asparagus (remove the woody piece from the stem)
  • 6 puff pastry sheets, cut into 12cm long x 6cm wide pieces
  • 100ml extra virgin olive oil
  • 2tsp sea salt
  • 1tsp dried red chilli flakes
  • 1 clove garlic, crushed
  • 3 sprigs fresh thyme, chopped finely
  • 6 large free range eggs
  • 1 x 225g piece of bacon loin
  • 2litres water
  • Cracked black pepper to season the egg
  • For the tapenade:
  • 200g Kalamata olives
  • 4 tsp capers
  • Juice of 1 lemon
  • 2 anchovies
  • Half a clove garlic, crushed
  • 6 leaves fresh basil
  • Half a tsp chopped fresh thyme
  • 4 tbs extra virgin olive oil

Method

Roast the bacon piece for 30 minutes at 180 degrees/gas 4. Cool then freeze the bacon. When it’s frozen, grate on a fine setting onto greaseproof paper. Place in a pre-heated oven at 90 degrees/gas quarter mark, for 30 minutes, until dry and crisp. Set aside.

For the tapenade: Remove the stones from the olives then pulse all the ingredients in a food processor. Set aside.

Whisk together the garlic, red chilli flakes, fresh thyme and 50ml of the oil. Set aside.

Place a griddle pan on a high heat and leave there until it’s smoking. While the pan is heating, place the asparagus in a deep dish.

Drizzle over 50ml of the plain olive oil and keep gently working the asparagus until they all have a light oily glaze. Season all over with an even sprinkle of sea salt and place them in small batches on the grill pan to char. Once they are marked, take them off the heat; you want them less than half way cooked at this stage. Place on kitchen paper to drain off excess oil.

Place each of the six puff pastry sheets on larger pieces of greaseproof paper. Keeping a one centimetre perimeter free from holes, jab the rest of the surface with a fork.

Dip a pastry brush into the chilli oil and gently brush the surface area of the pastry sheet that has the fork holes. Top each one with four asparagus spears. Place on a tray in a pre-heated oven at 180 degrees/gas 4 for 10 minutes, or until the sides puff up. Remove and brush the puffed sides with a little more of the chilli oil.

Bring the water to the boil and drop in the eggs two or three at a time for four minutes (soft centre). Do not let the water boil when the eggs are in the pot.

To serve, top each tartlet with an egg, a drizzle of tapenade and a generous sprinkle of bacon crumble. Season the egg with a little cracked black pepper to finish.