French Bean & Shallot Tart

French Bean and Shallot Tart

French beans are one of those vegetables best eaten when in season. When they are young and reasonably fresh, they are good just boiled and tossed with butter, parsley and seasoning. In this recipe, French beans play a starring role in a tart with some shallots and ricotta cheese.


french beans on vineServes 6

200g green beans

1 tbsp olive oil

a knob of butter

100g shallots, peeled and sliced

1 tbsp soft brown sugar

3 eggs

300ml double cream

80g Parmesan, grated

4tbsp ricotta cheese

2 tbsp finely chopped flat-leaf parsley and basil, mixed

sea salt

freshly ground black pepper

Pastry

225g plain flour

a pinch of salt

150g cold butter, cut into cubes

1 egg yolk, beaten with 2 tbsp cold water

To Make the Pastry

  1. Place the flour, salt and butter in a food processor and whizz until it resembles breadcrumbs. Add the egg yolk and water and mix again briefly. Turn the mixture out on to a floured surface and bring together into a ball of dough with your hands. Wrap the dough in clingfilm and chill in the fridge for 30 minutes. Preheat the oven to 200°C/Gas 6
  2. Roll out the  pastry on a lightly floured surface and use it to line a 24 cm flat tin. Place a sheet of baking parchment over the pastry and then pour some baking beans on top. Place the flan on a baking sheet and pop into the oven for 15 minutes. Remove the baking parchment and beans and return the flan case to the oven for another 5 minutes. Turn the oven down to 180°C/Gas 4.

To Make the Filling

  1. Cook the green beans in boiling salted water until tender. This should take 5-7 minutes, depending on the thickness and freshness of the beans. drain the beans and chop them into 5cm lengths. Set aside.
  2. Heat the oil and butter in a frying pan. Add the shallots and the sugar and cook on a low heat for 15 minutes until the shallots are soft and golden. Set aside.
  3. Put the eggs, cream, Parmesan cheese and ricotta in a mixing bowl and season well with plenty of salt and pepper. Mix everything together and stir in the herbs.
  4. Lay the shallots in the base of the tart case, arrange the beans attractively on top, then pour on the egg and cream mixture. Put the tart tin on a baking tray and bake for 40 minutes. Serve with a green salad

This recipe comes from the award-winning cookbook What’s for Dinner? Second Helpings by Romilla Arber. The proceeds from the book sales help fund Romilla’s Food Education Trust that awards grants to schools, groups and institutions to help them promote the benefits of home cooking.

Romilla also runs the Honesty Cookery School near Newbury and The Crown & Garter pub in Inkpen.

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