This verdant tart is the epitome of low-effort, high-reward cooking – especially if you prep the red onion jam and chilli oil ahead of time. “I’ve been cooking this tart for years, not always using the same ingredients but always the same technique,” says chef and television presenter Michael Van de Elzen, who included this recipe in his new cookbook Good from Scratch.
It’s easy to swap in other vegetables – such as cauliflower, zucchini, carrots, beetroot or leeks – depending on seasonal availability, he adds.
Michael Van De Elzen's grilled asparagus and broccoli tart
Preparation time: 30 minutes
Cooking time: 45 minutes, including jam and chilli oil
2 bunches asparagus, trimmed
1 head broccoli, cut into florets with long stems
2 tbsp grapeseed oil
Flaky sea salt and cracked pepper, to taste
1 sheet puff pastry
½ cup red onion jam
100g smoked cheddar cheese, cubed
1 egg, lightly beaten
12 rocket leaves for garnish
¼ cup chilli oil
Red onion jam (makes 2 cups)
3 red onions, finely sliced
⅓ cup red wine vinegar
2 tbsp brown sugar
A pinch of fine sea salt
Chilli oil (makes ¼ cup)
10 dried chillies, crushed in a mortar and pestle
¼ cup grapeseed oil
½ tsp fine sea salt
Start with the jam. Place ingredients in a heavy-based pot and cook over medium heat for about 12 minutes or until thick and syrupy. Store in the fridge for up to 10 days.
For the chilli oil, combine ingredients in a small pot and slowly bring to a simmer. Once simmering, remove from the heat and allow to cool. Store in the fridge for up to two months.
To make the tart filling, bring a large pot of salted water to the boil. Drop in the asparagus and count to 10 before removing it and dropping it in a bowl of iced water to halt the cooking process. Do the same for the broccoli.
Drain both well then toss in the grapeseed oil, salt and pepper.
Heat a cast-iron frypan over high heat and add the asparagus. Keep an eye on it as it starts to char, and remove when it’s well-coloured. Repeat with the broccoli.
Preheat your oven to 190°C fan bake. Line a large oven tray with baking paper. Lay the pastry on the tray, then take a knife and lightly score a 3cm border around the outside. Prick the inside area with a fork.
Spread the red onion jam over the inside area, then layer the asparagus, broccoli and smoked cheese over the top.
Brush the border with egg and bake for 25 minutes or until golden.
Serve garnished with rocket and lightly drizzled with a little chilli oil, with the remaining chilli oil on the side.
This is an edited extract from Good From Scratch by Michael Van de Elzen. Photography by Babiche Martens. Published by Allen & Unwin NZ. RRP $49.99.