As the first tender shoots of spring onions come through, Melanie makes a buckwheat tart with spring onions, fresh anchovies and chilli.
Melanie says: ‘At last, true signs that spring is on its way to the kitchen garden as small green shoots bring a promise of delicious sweet and crisp flavours to come. I’ve put my early spring onions to good use in this tart, made in part with buckwheat flour. You can use all buckwheat for a gluten-free version.’
Buckwheat tart with spring onions, fresh anchovies and chilli (serves 4)
For the pastry
Olive oil for greasing
150g plain flour
150g buckwheat flour
50g mixed seeds (sunflower, pumpkin, sesame, linseed)
A generous pinch of salt
Zest of 1 lemon
80ml olive oil
100ml cold water
For the filling
220g broccoli and cauliflower couscous (simply process broccoli and cauliflower until it resembles couscous)
200g courgettes, sliced into coins
2 spring onions, finely sliced
150g garden peas
1 red chilli, diced
10 fresh anchovy fillets
4 tablespoons capers
6 eggs (beaten)
100ml single cream
A large handful of rocket for serving
Preheat your oven to 180°C/350°F/gas mark 4 and grease a 25cm tart dish with olive oil.
In the bowl of a stand mixer (or a large bowl if mixing by hand, which is very workable), assemble the flour, buckwheat flour, mixed seeds, salt, grated cheese and lemon zest.
Make a well in the centre and add the egg and olive oil. Attach the dough hook to the stand mixer and place the bowl under it, then mix on a slow speed. As it comes together, add the water slowly, only adding more as it’s needed.
Remove the dough from the bowl and bring it together with your hands. Roll it out on your work surface to the thickness of a £1 coin. Carefully place it in the tart dish—it may crumble, but that won’t matter if you patch it together as you go. Once you’ve lined the dish, prick the pastry base with a fork and bake in the oven for about 10–12 minutes.
Place the beaten eggs, cream and seasoning in a jug and beat together well.
Remove the pastry from the oven and spoon in the vegetable couscous, sliced courgettes, spring onions, peas, red chilli slices, anchovies and capers, then pour in the contents of the jug. Bake for about 25–30 minutes or until the centre no longer moves. Remove from the oven and serve scattered with lightly dressed rocket
More recipes with spring onions
Bring a large pan of water to the boil and cook two frozen lobster tails in it for six minutes. Remove and set aside. When cool enough to handle, use a strong knife to cut through the shell and halve them vertically. Drop the egg noodles into the pan of boiling water and cook until tender— only a few minutes, usually. In a separate bowl, mix together two tablespoons oyster sauce, one tablespoon soy sauce, two teaspoons sesame oil and one tablespoon mirin. Toss with the egg noodles and serve scattered with freshly chopped spring onions and a lobster tail. A sprinkling of black sesame seeds will look pretty.
My sausage rolls
Add a splash of olive oil to a frying pan, then cook four finely chopped spring onions for a minute, before adding a splash of white wine, lemon juice and zest, freshly chopped parsley and two tablespoons of harissa.
Spread the mixture over a ready-rolled sheet of puff pastry. Line up chipolata sausages on it, end to end, then fold the pastry over. Repeat to create a second row. Slice into pieces, slicing through the sausages. Brush with beaten egg, score the pastry decoratively and bake for 25 minutes.
Take four large tomatoes and dice them, removing the seeds and watery centres. Add two chopped spring onions, a handful fresh basil leaves, one clove crushed garlic, roughly 10 caper berries, seasoning, a splash of olive oil and a splash of balsamic. Mix well. Serve on toasted ciabatta or make a ‘skinny’ version and serve it spooned onto cos lettuce leaves. You could also serve this with grilled fish.