Crab tart with tomato and spinach salad

This week’s dish is incredibly tasty because anything based on crab tends to be. If you really have a fear of making pastry or just can’t be bothered, there’s perfectly good frozen pastry available that’ll do the job. However, there is something very satisfying about making your own. When making pastry it’s essential that everything is kept cool, hence the cold butter. People with warm hands often find it difficult to make pastry. Making it in a food processor, like here, can help but don’t over process because the very act of processing it warms it up.

In this recipe I’ve described it as four individual tarts but if you wanted to make one tart and divide it, use the pastry to line an eight or nine inch diameter flan dish.

Serves four

For the pastry:

  • 125g cold butter – cut into dice
  • One egg – beaten
  • 250g plain flour
  • Salt and freshly ground black pepper
  • Two to three tablespoons of water

For the filling:

  • One handful of diced red onion
  • Two handfuls of chopped leeks
  • Two handfuls of fresh spinach – roughly chopped
  • Olive oil
  • Two handfuls of wild rocket
  • 1 cup of crab meat
  • A small carton of double cream
  • Two eggs – beaten

A handful of sun-dried tomatoes – chopped

Preheat the oven to 170°C (gas mark 3).

First make the pastry by placing the egg and butter into a food processor and blitzing until smooth. Add the flour and a pinch of salt and black pepper. Then, with the motor running, pour in the water until the mixture comes together in a ball. Remove from the processor, wrap it in cling film and allow it to rest for 30 minutes in the fridge.

Then roll the pastry out until it’s about the thickness of a pound coin. Line four 10cm (4 inch) tartlet rings with it and cut discs of greaseproof paper to fit inside each one. Scatter a few dried beans over each disk of paper or use a handful of pasta, just to weigh the pastry down, and bake in the oven for 5 to 10 minutes or until the pastry is cooked. Remove the greaseproof paper and allow to cool.

To make the filling, in a saucepan gently sauté the onion, leek and spinach in a little olive oil for a few minutes until the onion is soft. Remove from the heat and add half the rocket and crab, enough cream to bind the mixture together and then mix in the beaten eggs.

Spoon the mixture into the tartlet cases and bake in the oven until set – between 15 and 20 minutes.

To serve mix the tomatoes and remaining rocket together, pile onto service dishes and place the tart on top.

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