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Cheesy asparagus galette

What do you do when you’re short on funds, squiffy after a prosecco-soaked bank holiday picnic, and sitting in Greenwich when you’ve got people coming for dinner in Elephant & Castle in 90 minutes? Plan a savoury galette, of course.

a cheesy asparagus galette

Among the simplest and most rustic of all pies, but with that pizzazz of “I made my own pastry”, a galette is almost sanctimoniously forgiving. And now that we’ve hit the time of year when produce comes in gem-like colours, it’s a nifty way to make a star out of pretty much any seasonal goodies.

I had a decent mix of skinny and fat asparaguses – asparagi? – in my fridge, so I’ve set out a cheesy asparagus and shallot galette on my website. But really, you could swap in the latest sweet baby courgettes, sliced thinly and arranged on top, or the long-awaited multi-coloured tomatoes, or even broad beans or spring onions.

I sneakily nabbed the leftover gorgonzola and comte from the picnic but you could use whichever cheeses you fancy. You could even grate parmesan or cheddar into the pastry if the mood so takes you.

A topping of neatly arranged asparagus spears nestles on a base of a thick bechamel, with shallots and chopped asparagus stirred through, plus some blobs of gorgonzola, comte and ricotta dotted through, in a crisp and crumbly informal pastry. Drizzle with olive oil, scatter some sea salt flakes on top, bake and serve with a sunny tomato salad and some leaves.

a cheesy asparagus galette, heritage tomatoes and salad

Serves 4.

For the pastry:

  • 225g plain flour

  • Pinch of salt

  • 100g unsalted butter

  • 2 eggs plus extra for brushing

For the bechamel:

  • 20g butter

  • 20g flour

  • 180ml milk

  • 1 bay leaf

  • Salt and white pepper

For the filling:

  • 75g mixed cheeses, eg gorgonzola, comte, cheddar – broken into small blobs

  • 75g ricotta

  • 2 small shallots

  • Medium-sized bunch of asparagus

  • Olive oil, to drizzle

For the pastry:

  1. Pulse the flour and salt in a food processor. Add the cubes of cold butter gradually until you have a breadcrumb-like mixture.

  2. Tip in the eggs and pulse briefly into a dough. If it’s too dry, add very small amounts of very cold water but be careful not to add too much.

  3. Bring the dough together quickly by hand and shape into a disc. Wrap in cling film and refrigerate for at least 20 minutes.

  4. Pre-heat the oven to 180 degrees and put a baking sheet in to heat.

For the filling:

  1. Chop about two thirds of the asparagus into roughly 2cm lengths.

  2. Saute the shallots on a gentle heat for about 5 minutes, then tip in the chopped asparagus and season with salt and pepper. Cook for around a minute and set aside.

  3. For the bechamel, warm the milk with the bay leaf and let it infuse for 5 minutes.

  4. Melt the butter over a low heat and then beat in the flour. Remove the bay leaf from the milk and gradually pour the milk into the butter/flour mixture until you have a fairly thick white sauce – you may not need all of the milk. Season with salt and white pepper.

  5. Stir the asparagus and shallots into the bechamel.

To assemble:

  1. Place the dough onto a piece of baking paper roughly the size of your baking sheet, and roll it out to a circle of around 30cm. Leaving an edge of around 5cm, tip the bechamel mixture into the centre of the circle.

  2. Dot the mixture with the ricotta and cheeses.

  3. Lay the remaining asparagus spears on top of the filling.

  4. Brush the edges of the circle with beaten egg and pull the sides up around the filling, pinching to crimp a little. Brush the outside of the galette with egg.

  5. Drizzle the top spears with a little olive oil and season with flaked salt and black pepper.

  6. Remove the baking sheet from the oven (with gloves!) and gently transfer the baking paper and galette onto it.

  7. Place back in the oven and bake for around 30-40 minutes or until the dough is golden-brown.

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