Spinach Crostata with Asparagus and Artichoke

Spinach Crostata with Asparagus and Artichoke Recipe

The girls are becoming such foodies. All summer, they've been involved in the preparation of the family meal. Since Sunny knows how to drive, she took the rest of the girls grocery shopping today and came home with a lot of greens. We concocted a savory green pie in the form of spinach-flavored crostata filled with asparagus, marinated artichokes and more spinach. How cool is that?

Each girl got assigned a specific task. Sunny prepped the greens (celery, asparagus and artichokes) and cheeses (mozzarella and Gruyere), Lya caramelized the onions and Mimi and Lala were in charge of the buttery spinach dough. Since we made such a rich dish, we paired it with a salad loaded with fresh, crisp vegetables. Anything will do, but I especially like shredded carrots.

Ingredients

Yields: 8 individual pies

½ pound frozen baby asparagus (or fresh asparagus), thawed
10 ounces marinated artichokes
1 pound baby spinach, finely chopped
2 tablespoons olive oil, as needed
2 cloves garlic, finely minced
1 yellow onion, finely chopped
12 ounces fromage blanc
2 tablespoons green onions, chopped
2 teaspoons raw honey
½ teaspoon black pepper
4 cups all-purpose flour
1 tablespoon sea salt (or regular salt)
½ teaspoon black pepper, freshly cracked
24 tablespoons unsalted butter (cold), diced
¼ cup Gruyère cheese, shaved
1 fresh mozzarella ball, thinly sliced
3 eggs
1 tablespoon Tabasco sauce (or any hot sauce), optional


Directions

For the spinach: Dip 2 cups spinach into boiling, salted water for 10 seconds, then transfer to an ice-cold bath. Drain the blanched spinach, then add ½ cup ice water. Pulse in a mini-blender (if possible). Set aside.

Making artichoke-asparagus-spinach filling:

Coarsely chop the asparagus and artichokes. Transfer to a food processor and pulse until finely chopped.

In a saucepan, heat the oil. Add the onions and cook over medium-low heat, stirring occasionally, for about 6-7 minutes, until they're softened and lightly golden. Add the garlic and cook for 2 minutes until fragrant. Add the asparagus and artichoke mixture and let sit for 1 minute. Stir well and cook for 2-3 minutes, add the remaining spinach, 2 tablespoons green onions, chives, honey and 3 tablespoons parsley. Season with salt and pepper. Cook for another minute, then transfer to a plate and let cool. Add the fromage blanc and Tabasco. Mix until well distributed. Adjust seasoning, if necessary.

For the crostata pastry:

Meanwhile, preheat the oven to 375°F.

In the bowl of a food processor, combine 3¾ cups flour and sea salt in a small bowl and place in the freezer for 30 minutes. Add the cold butter, 3 eggs and the spinach-flavored ice water. Pulse until the mixture becomes a thick dough. Add up to 2 additional tablespoons ice water, if needed. Make sure not to over-mix it. 

Dust a flat surface with the remaining flour. Place the dough and roll it out into 8 7¼"-diameter disks. Transfer to baking pans lined with parchment paper.

Assembly time:

Place the green mixture on the center of the dough. Using a flat spatula, even out the mixture, forming a 7¼"-diameter disk in the center. Cover with Gruyère cheese and mozzarella slices. Fold the dough on each side of the tart creating a "free-form" blossom pocket. Repeat the same procedure for the rest of the pies.

Chill in the refrigerator for about 15 minutes prior to baking.

Bake for 15 minutes at 375°F, then lower the temperature to 350°F and cook for another 40-45 minutes until golden. If the crusts aren't browned enough, you can change the oven setting and broil for 2-3 more minutes.

Allow to cool for about 15 minutes.

Bon appétit!


Tips

Instead of making individual-serving sizes, you could make two large crostata pies.

You can use any other vegetables that are in season.

Published By: Jacqueline Pham on August 6, 2013.


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