Photo by Joshua Holz
Whip up your very own savory spring crostata with asparagus, courtesy of Rebecca Miller Ffrench’s Whole Protein Vegetarian cookbook.
I adore the rustic feel of a crostata. The dough is quite forgiving—just be sure you use parchment paper when you roll it in order to prevent sticking. The addition of quinoa flour here adds a nutty, coarse texture to the crust. You may also want to use this crust and goat cheese as a base for other vegetables, perhaps roast squash in autumn or fresh tomatoes in summer. Adjust the herbs accordingly.
Savory Spring Crostata
17 grams of protein
¾ cup white whole-wheat flour
½ cup quinoa flour (Cook’s note: You may use all whole-wheat flour if you don’t have quinoa flour. To make your own flour, see below.)
¼ cup finely grated Parmesan cheese
½ cup (1 stick, 4 ounces) unsalted butter, chilled, cut into 1-inch pieces
1 large egg, lightly whisked
1 tsp kosher salt
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In the bowl of a food processor, pulse the flours, Parmesan, and salt together. Add the butter and pulse again several times until coarse crumbs develop. Add the egg and run for 15 to 20 seconds, or until a ball of dough forms.
Pat the dough into a five-inch round disk and cover it with plastic wrap. Put the dough in the freezer for 10 minutes.
4 oz goat cheese, softened
1 tsp lemon zest
1 tsp fresh lemon juice
¼ cup chopped fresh chives
2 tsp chopped fresh mint
½ tsp fresh thyme leaves
¼ tsp kosher salt, plus more for seasoning asparagus
1/8 tsp freshly ground black pepper
½ cup shelled fresh peas
½ bunch asparagus (about ½ pound), trimmed
1 tsp extra-virgin olive oil
Preheat the oven to 400°F.
In a bowl, mix the goat cheese with the lemon zest and juice, chives, mint, thyme, salt, and pepper. Set aside.
Bring a small saucepan of water to a boil and add the peas. Cook for two-three minutes, or just until tender. Drain, coarsely mash, and set aside. In another bowl, toss the asparagus with the olive oil and a good sprinkling of kosher salt.
Place the chilled dough disk on a piece of parchment paper, and using a rolling pin, roll out the dough into a 12-inch round, dusting with wheat flour as needed to prevent sticking. Transfer the dough round, with its parchment paper, to a baking sheet.
Spread the goat cheese mixture carefully on the dough round. Gently mash the peas into the goat cheese and top with the asparagus. Fold the edges of the dough up around the asparagus, creating a one-inch border. Bake the crostata for 35 to 40 minutes, or until the crust is golden and crispy.
Making Nut and Grain Flours
Flours are astonishingly simple to make, so instead of writing out the directions as a recipe, I’m just going to tell you how to make them. You put the nut or grain from which you want to make flour into a high-power blender jar and run it on high speed for 30 to 60 seconds. Scrape the sides down with a spatula and run it once more quickly—that’s it, you’re done. Easy, right?
Use almonds to make almond flour, dried quinoa for quinoa flour, uncooked old-fashioned rolled oats for oat flour, and wheat berries for wheat flour. In general, one cup of whole nuts or grains yields just over one cup of flour; usually the amount is increased by about ¼ cup.