Friday, December 14, 2007



mushroom and asparagus pastry layers

For the pastry110g/4oz plain flour, plus extra for dusting175g/6oz mature cheddar, finely grated110g/4oz salted butter pinch cayenne pepper1 free-range egg yolkFor the blue cheese dressing1 tsp runny honey1 tsp Dijon mustardsalt and freshly ground black pepper½ tbsp red wine vinegar150ml/5fl oz groundnut or extra virgin olive oil 2 tsp lemon juice1 shallot, very finely chopped50g/2oz firm Binham Blue cheese, or other blue cheese, crumbledFor the asparagus and wild mushrooms2 shallots, finely chopped 1 clove garlic, finely chopped3 tbsp olive oil225g/9oz mixed wild mushrooms, such as pied de mouton, chanterelles, trompettessalt and freshly ground black pepper2 tbsp chopped parsley16 asparagus spears, trimmed to about 7.5cm/3in longyoung salad leaves, to garnish

Method1. Preheat the oven to 180C/350F/Gas 4.2. To make the pastry, place all the pastry ingredients except the egg yolk in a food processor. Blitz quickly to combine. Add the egg yolk and process again until the pastry comes together in a dough. Divide the dough in half, shape into two balls and wrap individually in cling film. Leave to rest in the fridge for an hour.3. Roll out the pastry on a lightly floured surface to about 3mm/one-eighth in. Using a palette knife, cut the pastry into 12 neat rectangles, 7.5cm/3in long and 5cm/2in wide, re-rolling any trimmings. 4. Transfer the rectangles to a baking tray lined with baking parchment, leaving a little space between them. Cover the biscuits with another sheet of baking parchment and place another baking tray on top to hold down the pastry. Bake in the oven for 20 minutes or until the pastry is golden and crisp. Leave the biscuits to cool on the baking tray, then transfer to a wire rack. 5. To make the dressing, whisk the honey, mustard and a good pinch each of salt and freshly ground black pepper in a bowl, then whisk in the vinegar. Slowly pour in the oil and the lemon juice, whisking constantly. Check the seasoning and add the shallot and crumbled blue cheese. (This vinaigrette will keep in a covered jar in the fridge for several weeks.)6. For the wild mushrooms, heat a frying pan and quickly fry the shallots and garlic in the oil until soft, then add the wild mushrooms and season with salt and freshly ground black pepper. Continue cooking over a high heat until the mushrooms soften. Transfer to a bowl and add the chopped parsley. Leave to cool.7. Cook the asparagus in a pan of boiling water until just tender. Drain and refresh under cold running water.8. To serve, lay a pastry biscuit on each plate. Spoon some mushrooms along the pastry and top with two asparagus spears. Cover with another pastry layer and add the remaining mushrooms and asparagus. Put the final pastry layer on top. Spoon the dressing around and garnish with young salad leaves