The other week we went foraging up north of Toronto about an hour or so.
We got covered in scratches and came home with a few splinters, but it was totally worth it! We scoured the bases of trees and patches of trillium blooms and found the motherload of edibles. But of course, trying to be responsible foragers, we took only a fraction of each area we visited. Most of what the eyes could see wasn’t even touched. There is plenty for the natural progress of these plants, as well as for any rabbits or deer that may be a tad peckish. A huge basket of fiddleheads, and an even larger one of ramps (wild leeks) along with laughs and photos were what we returned with from the forest floor. And when we returned to house at the front of the farmland property, my friend’s mother-in-law came out with a bag of fresh asparagus she had just plucked as well. So all in all, a successful haul that day! I’m including a shot of me on the ATV that hauled the trailer and us around the area. Excuse the less than steller look, I wasn’t exactly thinking that the day would be including shots of humans!
Naturally some of my fiddleheads went into my Fleeting Fiddlehead Galette, and some of the ramps were turned into Ramp Pesto. I also used some of the ramps to replace the spinach in the Spinach Ricotta Gnocchi I had made in March. I made enough to freeze, so we’ll be enjoying ramps well into the summer!
What would I do with the asparagus? Yes, some got roasted, some got eaten raw (peeled first) but I had just enough left to make one more dish with. I decided to play with my Fiddlehead Galette and came up with this.
I had a jar of preserved artichoke hearts in the pantry. I adore artichoke hearts!! I can open a jar and just eat them with a fork. I also had a small jar of artichoke spread that Delicious and Sons shared with me. They have a great collection of spreads and sauces based in Spain. How could I turn these pantry goodies into something yummy? Artichokes and asparagus go so well together, they compliment each other in texture and flavour. Neither one overshadows the other.
So I took my original recipe and only made a few changes. To the goat, parmesan and mozzarella cheese filling, I would add 1/3 cup of the artichoke spread. And I added a bit extra hot chilli flakes. I steamed the asparagus just a touch and lay them out on the cheese filling spread over the lovely pastry made with yogurt and butter. Then I tucked sliced up artichoke hearts in between the asparagus spears. Because it is a freeform galette, the edges are folded back over the filling to form an finished edge. The crust formed perfectly in the oven, and the cheesy filling started to bubble all around the veggies. Once it was ready to come out of the oven, I was tempted to cut into it right away. But this is one of those dishes that does well from sitting a bit. It gives the cheeses time to settle down and firm up again- if not, they’d just flow everywhere as you cut into the galette. In fact, this galette, like its fiddlehead counterpart tastes amazing at room temperature. I have even been known to sneak a cut piece from the fridge and eat it cold for breakfast!!
I know you will love this tart or galette. It is perfect as a vegetarian dinner with a salad. Even Jim, who isn’t into froufrou dishes so much likes this. But then again, he loves asparagus. This galette is also fabulous as a starter course. If you don’t have access to this particular artichoke spread, you could finely mince up some artichoke hearts and add them to the cheeses instead.
I’m so happy that I got to use Spring’s produce in such a variety of ways this year. And it was all made that much more special because we took the time to find and pick it all ourselves. Is there anything you like to go picking for? Even if it’s apples or strawberries at the farms, there are so many good memories from ‘Pick Your Own’ stands and farms from our childhood!
Asparagus and Artichoke Galette
Springtime asparagus and artichoke hearts are featured in this lovely galette. The buttery thyme infused crust holds a cheesy filling that puffs up around the veggies. It makes a great dinner with a salad, or a first course for a larger meal. It tastes great cold!
- 1 1/4 cup unbleached AP flour
- 1/4 tsp salt
- 2 tsp fresh chopped thyme
- 8 tbsp 1 stick frozen unsalted butter
- 1/4 cup plain greek yogurt
- 1/4 cup ice cold water
- 2 tsp lemon juice
- 1/2 cup goat cheese softened to room temperature
- 1/2 cup shredded mozzarella cheese I just use 'pizza' mozzarella
- 1/4 cup grated parmesan cheese
- 1/3 cup artichoke spread or finely minced artichoke hearts, about 3
- 2 tsp olive oil
- 2 garlic cloves minced
- 1 tsp fresh thyme chopped
- 1 tsp hot pepper flakes
- 12-15 asparagus spears trimmed
- 4-5 jarred artichoke hearts quartered
- 1 egg
- 1 tbsp fresh thyme
- Maldon finishing salt for the crust
For the Crust
Add the flour and 1/4 tsp salt to a bowl. Whisk to combine. Add 2 tsp fresh chopped thyme.
With the large holes of a grater, grate the butter stick into the flour. Mix gently with your fingers until mixture resembles coarse meal.
In a smaller bowl, whisk together the yogurt, water and lemon juice. Pour this over the flour mixture and use your hands or a wooden spoon to form the dough into a ball. Flatten slightly and wrap in plastic wrap. Place in the freezer for 20 minutes.
To prepare the Filling:
Whisk together the olive and garlic cloves in a small bowl.
In a separate bowl, combine the three cheeses and then add the olive oil mixture. Stir in the thyme and hot pepper flakes. Refrigerate till ready to use.
Preheat the oven to 400F. Remove the dough from the freezer.
Line a baking sheet with parchment paper and set aside.
If the asparagus spears are on the thinner side, you won't need to prepare them other than trimming them.
If they are thicker, then steam the asparagus spears in a steamer bowl for no more than 5 minutes Set aside.
On a well floured surface, roll out the dough into a 12 inch circle, trimming the edges to clean it up. Transfer the dough to the parchment or silpat lined baking sheet.
Leaving a 2 inch border untouched, spread the cheese mixture evenly over the dough. Arrange the asparagus, trimming to fit over the cheese. Scatter the artichoke quarters around the asparagus, then drizzle 1 tsp of olive oil over the top. Sprinkle with the fresh thyme and/or extra hot pepper flakes.
Fold the edges of the dough in and over the filling, pleating to make it lay nicely.
Whisk together the egg and 1 tsp water. Brush this over the crust. Sprinkle the edges with the finishing salt.
Bake for 30 minutes or until the cheese is puffed and crust is golden brown. At the 15 minute mark look in to see if it is baking up properly. Sometimes the crust will pull away. If so, gently use a spatula or towel to push the crust edge back over the filling.
Using the parchment paper to transfer, move the galette after 5 minutes to a cutting board. Let the baked galette rest on a cutting board for another 10 minutes before cutting into it. The cheeses need to set.
This also tastes lovely at room temperature. It even tastes good cold!