2 cups flour
2/3 cup vegetable shortening
2 tsp poppy seeds (optional)
Chilled water, for mixing
1 (14.75 oz) can or 2 (7.5 oz) cans red or pink Alaska salmon
8 oz thin asparagus spears, trimmed and halved
3.5 oz goat cheese, sliced or crumbled
8 cherry tomatoes, halved
3 large eggs
1 1/3 cup crème fraiche
1 Tbsp chopped fresh chives or parsley
Freshly ground black pepper
Sift the flour and salt into a large bowl. Rub in the vegetable fat with your fingertips until the mixture resembles fine crumbs. Add the poppy seeds, if using. Stir in just enough chilled water to make a soft, but not sticky, dough. Knead lightly until smooth, then wrap in parchment paper and chill for 10-20 minutes.
Preheat the oven to 375 degrees (conventional oven) or 350 degrees (convection). Roll out the pastry dough on a lightly floured surface to line the bottom and sides of a small (7”x11”) oblong tart tin. Top pastry with a piece of foil, add a layer of dried beans to bake ‘blind’ (without a filling) for 15 minutes. Remove pan from oven, remove the foil and beans. Reduce the oven temperature to 350 (conventional) or 325 (convection).
Drain the salmon; remove the skin and bones, if desired. Break into large chunks and arrange on the pastry. Lightly cook the asparagus in boiling water for 2 minutes; rinse with cold water and drain. Arrange asparagus on the pastry along with the goat cheese and cherry tomatoes.
Beat together the eggs, crème fraiche and herbs. Season with pepper. Pour mixture over vegetables. Bake for 25-30 minutes, until set. Serve warm or cold.
Cook’s Tip: Try not to handle the pastry too much – it should be kept as cool as possible to give a light, crisp finish.