Asparagus and (Almond) Cheese Tart with Cornmeal Pastry

This works best with thin asparagus, otherwise you might want to roast them a bit, first. Plan ahead here — the almond cheese requires preparation a day in advance.


Asparagus and (Almond) Cheese Tart with Cornmeal Pastry

For the Almond Cheese:
1 cup almonds
1 clove garlic
1 tablespoon extra-virgin olive oil
1 tablespoon fresh dill, plus more to taste
1 tablespoons lemon juice, plus more to taste
1 teaspoon pure maple syrup
1/4 teaspoon fine sea salt, plus more to taste

For the Crust:
1 cup sorghum flour
1/3 cup quinoa flour
1/3 cup tapioca flour
1/3 cup cornmeal
1/4 teaspoon fine sea salt
6 tablespoons coconut oil, slightly softened, but not liquid
2 tablespoons apple cider vinegar
About 1/4 cup ice water

For the Topping:
About 1 1/2 pounds fresh asparagus, washed and ends trimmed

To make the almond “cheese”, place the almonds in a glass bowl. Cover with enough water by about 3 inches. Soak overnight, at least 12 hours

The next day, rinse the almonds well with cold water. Use your fingers to squeeze off the almond skins. Rinse again and soak for an additional 2 to 3 hours. Sample, and add more dill, salt and lemon to taste.

After soaking, rinse the almonds well. Drain well. Place the almonds, garlic, oil, dill, lemon juice, salt and syrup in a food processor. Process until smooth, scraping down the sides when necessary. Refrigerate for at least a few hours, to let flavours meld together.

To make the crust, place the flour, cornmeal and sea salt in a food processor. Pulse until combined. Add the coconut oil and apple cider vinegar. Pulse until there are pea-sized pieces of coconut oil among the flour. Turn the food processor on and add the water, a little at a time, just enough to make a cohesive dough. Gather the dough together, pat into a disc-shape, and cover in plastic wrap. Refrigerate for at least 5 hours.

Remove the dough from the refrigerator about 20 minutes before you plan to roll it. Preheat the oven to 375F.

Roll the dough into a large rectangle on a piece of parchment paper, about 8 inches by 10 inches. Use your fingers to crimp the edges into a crust. Transfer to a baking sheet and return to the refrigerator for 10 minutes.

Spread the crust with the “cheese”. Top with the asparagus. Bake for 30 to 45 minutes, until browned. Serve at room temperature.


Grilled Radishes and Asparagus with Lemon-Dill Vinaigrette

Simple and flavorful, roasting radishes gives them the trademark grilled exterior with a creamy, smooth interior.

grilled radishes and asparagus with dill

Grilled Radishes and Asparagus with Lemon-Dill Vinaigrette

2 bunches radishes, ends trimmed (about 3 cups)
1 large bunch asparagus, ends trimmed and cut into 3-inch pieces (about 3 cups)
2 tablespoons extra-virgin olive oil
Sea salt and freshly ground pepper
1/2 recipe Lemon-Dill Vinaigrette (follows)

Preheat the grill to medium-high heat. Toss the radishes and asparagus with olive oil, salt and pepper. Put in a grill basket. Grill for about 10 minutes, stirring a few times, until cooked through and lightly charred. Remove the asparagus, and continue to cook until radishes are tender, about 5 to 8 more minutes. Toss with the vinaigrette, adding to taste.

Lemon-Dill Vinaigrette

1/2 cup fresh dill, packed
1/3 cup freshly squeezed lemon juice
1 teaspoon brown mustard
1 teaspoon liquid sweetener, such as agave nectar
1 shallot
Zest from 1/2 lemon zest
1/4 cup extra-virgin olive oil
Sea salt and fresh ground pepper

Put the dill, lemon juice, mustard, agave nectar, shallot, lemon zest, and a pinch of salt and pepper in a blender or food processor. Combine until smooth. Slowly add the olive oil while blender is running; process until combined. Season with additional salt and pepper to taste. Store leftovers in the refrigerator.

grilled radishes and asparagus with dill.3

Beer-Battered Asparagus

A simple recipe for beer-battered asparagus with a quick flour mix that would work well for any deep-frying.Though I never bake with rice flour, it provides a tempura-like lightness to deep-frying that works really well.

Beer-Battered Asparagus

1 large bunch of asparagus, about 2 pounds
1/2 cup sorghum flour
1/4 cup quinoa flour
1/4 cup sweet rice flour
1 tablespoon lemon zest
Scant 3/4 teaspoon xanthan gum
1/2 teaspoon garlic powder
1/2 teaspoon fine sea salt
1/8 teaspoon paprika
1 cup gluten-free beer (I used New Grist)
4 to 6 cups vegetable oil, such as canola
Additional salt for sprinkling

Wash the asparagus and cut off the woody ends. Cut the asparagus into three-inch pieces. Dry thoroughly.

Whisk together the sorghum flour, quinoa flour, sweet rice flour, xanthan gum, lemon zest, garlic powder, salt and paprika. Stir in the beer, mix until combined.

Put the oil in a medium-sized saucepan and attach a thermometer. The oil should be about three to four inches high. Heat until it reaches approximately 375°F (190°C). Dip the asparagus in the batter (coating completely isn’t necessary). Gently insert the asparagus (about six at a time, depending on the size of your pan) in the saucepan and fry, about two to three minutes, until golden brown. Use a slotted spoon to transfer the asparagus to paper towels to drain. Sprinkle with salt.Continue with the remaining asparagus. Serve warm.