Lobster and asparagus tart

Preparation time
over 2 hours

Cooking time
10 to 30 mins

Serves
Serves 4

By Nathan Outlaw

Ingredients

For the thyme pastry

  • 250g/9oz plain flour
  • 2 tsp finely chopped thyme leaves
  • 150g/5½oz cold unsalted butter, cubed
  • 1 free-range egg, beaten
  • 1 free-range egg yolk, beaten with 1 tbsp milk
  • salt

For the asparagus mousse

  • 2 leaves gelatine (bronze, if available), soaked in ice-cold water
  • 50g/1¾oz unsalted butter
  • 325g/11½oz trimmed and finely sliced asparagus
  • 150ml/5fl oz double cream
  • salt and freshly ground black pepper

For the garnish

  • 2 cooked lobster weighing 500g/1lb 2oz each, shells removed, and cut into small pieces
  • 8 asparagus spears, thinly sliced lengthways
  • 100ml/3½fl oz good quality olive oil
  • 3 tbsp agrodolce or balsamic vinegar
  • 1 tbsp finely chopped chervil, plus extra leaves, picked
  • salt and freshly ground black pepper

Method

  1. To make the pastry, put the flour, salt, thyme and butter into a bowl and rub together until it looks like breadcrumbs. Add the milk and beaten egg and mix lightly until it comes together to form a dough. (Be careful not to overwork it.) Shape the dough into a ball, wrap in cling film and leave to rest in the fridge for 2 hours.

  2. Meanwhile, melt the butter in a large pan over a medium heat. Add the asparagus and cook for about 3 minutes until soft, but not coloured. Pour in the cream, bring to a simmer and cook for 3 minutes. Season with salt and pepper to taste.

  3. Squeeze out the excess water from the gelatin, then add to the asparagus mixture. Tip into a blender and blitz for 2 minutes until smooth. Set aside to cool.

  4. Once set, whip using an electric whisk until light and airy. Transfer to a piping bag and leave in the fridge.

  5. Preheat the oven to 200C/180C Fan/Gas 6. Roll out the pastry on a lightly floured work surface and use it to line four 10cm/4in tins.

  6. Line the tart cases with baking paper and fill with baking beans. Blind bake for 20 minutes. Remove the tart cases, brush with the egg wash and bake for 5 minutes. Set aside to cool.

  7. When ready to serve, dress the sliced asparagus with the olive oil, vinegar, salt, pepper and chopped chervil.

  8. To assemble, pipe the asparagus mousse into the tart cases, top with the lobster and garnish with the dressed asparagus and chervil leaves. Serve.