lIs it picnic time yet? I long to sit on a picnic blanket at the slightest suggestion of the sun. Shaking out your feathers and escaping the confines of home is the best tonic after a long winter. Find a new walk nearby, enjoy the view and feast on some food made for the outdoors. Yes.
Spring clafoutis with asparagus, herbs, spinach and goat cheese
Like a quiche, but without the dough dough, it has all the light, springy flavors of the new season’s vegetables.
Preparation 15 minutes
Cook 50 minutes
250 grams asparagushard ends thrown away
½ tbsp olive oilplus extra for greasing
150 g peas
200 g baby spinachcrops
A small knob of butter
For the batter
125 ml whole milk
125 ml whipped cream
125 g floursieved
2-3 large handfuls of mixed fresh herbs – dill, parsley, basil, tarragon, mint and/or oregano
4 spring onionstrimmed and finely chopped
Salt and black pepper
¼ nut nutmeg
125 g goat cheese logcrumbled
Preheat the oven to 220C (200C Fan)/425F/Gas 7 and line a baking tray with baking paper. Arrange the asparagus in the dish, drizzle with the oil, season and flatten into a single layer. Roast for 10-12 minutes, until the spears just begin to color but still have some bite. Set aside to cool and set oven back to 180C (160C Fan)/350F/Gas 4.
Place the peas and spinach in a pan with the butter, season to taste, cover and steam gently for a few minutes, until the spinach has wilted and the peas are tender. Transfer to a sieve and let cool while you line the bottom and sides of a 20 cm springform pan with baking paper and cut the asparagus into 2½-5 cm pieces.
In a large bowl, whisk the eggs, milk and cream. Sift in the flour and beat briefly to form a batter. Squeeze the excess water from the spinach with your hands, chop roughly and add to the batter with the peas, a third of the asparagus, herbs and spring onions. Season generously with salt, pepper and nutmeg and crumble into the goat cheese. Pour the batter into the parchment-lined baking pan and top with the rest of the asparagus, which have been artfully arranged around the dish.
Bake for 35-40 minutes, or until puffed and golden brown. Like a quiche, it is delicious both warm from the oven and at room temperature. Serve with a green salad and buttered bread.
The simple flex
Vegans can omit the milk and flour and fill the batter with new potatoes, more spices, and chia instead of egg: I use a tablespoon of ground chia soaked in water for five minutes to replace each egg.