I recently went to visit an engineering company in a northern Italian town, Ivrea (where the Olivetti typewriters used to be made). It was an impressive set up, manufacturing to high quality standards (they were an aerospace supplier), as well as developing products with impressive ingenuity and creativity (they also supplied Formula One car makers).
It soon became clear that the standards and creativity in their canteen were consistent with the output of the rest of the factory. In fact, the catering was done by a restaurateur with two restaurants in the town, both very popular. Our lunch was nothing less than a feast, antipasti… pasta… three types of cake and pie to complete.
The pies at this canteen in Ivrea were little canapé-sized tarts, but I thought they were so good I’ve enlarged them and made them into a starter in their own right.
Or you could have two per person and turn this dish into lunch.
You can in fact use the filling for a normal sized quiche.
They need to be served with a sauce – either a tomato salsa, or some good mayonnaise.
Keen on Formula One? Watch Rush… the film about the rivalry between Niki Lauda and James Hunt – see trailer below. Or tuck up in bed with the thriller Driven, by Toby Vintcent.
Recipe for Formula One Pea Tart
- 500g/1 lb shortcrust pastry sheets
- 50g/½ cup grated Parmesan
- 100g/4 oz brie, chopped as best you can
- 220g/2 cups frozen peas
- 2 banana shallots, finely chopped
- Couple of knobs butter for frying
- 2 sprigs fresh mint (8 leaves minimum plus extra for garnish, chopped)
- 3 eggs
- Smoked salt and Indonesian long black pepper
- 130g chopped ham
- 300ml/1¼ cups crème fraîche
- 6 tbsp tomato salsa – or some pepped up mayonnaise
- Preheat the oven to 210ºC – use bottom of the roasting oven if you have an Aga.
- Grease eight loose-base tart tins.
- Lay out the pastry sheets on a floured surface, sprinkle with iced water, then sprinkle the Parmesan over one of the sheets.
- Cover with the other sheet and roll out again to a shape which you will then cut to eight even sized pieces.
- Line the tart tins with the pastry and prick with a fork a couple of times.
- Then either bake blind (line each with baking paper, fill with baking beans, chill in refrigerator, bake in 210ºC oven for about a quarter of an hour, leave to cool and remove beans) or if you are lucky enough to have an Aga you don’t need to bother with all this palaver.
- Meanwhile, fry the shallots in the butter for just over five minutes.
- Add the frozen peas, the ham and the mint, defrosting the peas gently over a low heat for another three minutes or so.
- Take off the heat, add the beaten eggs, the brie and the crème fraiche, reserving a little to garnish.
- Fill the tart cases.
- Bake for about 25 minutes.
- Serve warm with a sprinkling of chopped mint leaves on the tart, and the salsa on the side.
This post is dedicated to SG and AMZ.
Rush… the film about the rivalry between Niki Lauda and James Hunt