Asparagus, Blue Cheese, Chilli + Filo Tart


It took me quite a while to embrace chilli. Whilst now I’ve become quite partial to a bit of a kick here and there in my culinary adventures, for most of my life I’ve needed to gulp down thick lassis with even the mildest of curries. Living in Thailand for quite some time didn’t exactly transform my heat tolerance, surprisingly. Perhaps it’s because I was a little scarred from falling (again and again) for the devious little pranks of my cheeky Burmese colleagues which saw me repeatedly getting burned (in every sense of the word). “It no spicy Sam! Jus’ ta-ryyy! It good!”
(Note; If something is the colour of fire, follow all instincts and assume that it will torch your insides.) While this little tart can’t make it’s mind up whether it wants to be spicy or creamy, (or woody, or crispy) it’s having a scandalously good time trying to decide.

Asparagus + Blue Cheese + Chilli + Filo Tart
One bunch of fresh asparagus, woody ends trimmed, steamed with a little butter
A quarter of a cup of whole milk ricotta
100 grams, or so, of a good blue cheese, plus a scant handful extra
One or two fresh birdseye chilli’s, finely sliced
Four sheets of Filo Pastry
Sea Salt and Cracked Pepper

Preheat oven to 200 degrees, fan forced. Lay out the filo. Stack into a rectangle shape, brushing the layers with butter. Don’t worry if there are a few tears and whatnot, filo pastry is surprisingly forgiving. Brush the top with butter and salt and pepper. You could also use olive oil instead of the butter. I’ve done it and it’s just as good. Combine the ricotta with the crumbled blue cheese, if it looks like it’s going to be a tad thick, and a little tricky to spread, add a dash of milk to make it a smoother paste.
Spread across the filo, arrange the asparagus spears and sliced chilli on top. Sprinkle with that last little handful of blue cheese and some more salt and pepper. Pop into the oven for fifteen to twenty minutes. Probably fifteen. At least check on it then to make sure it isn’t burning. Remove it from the oven and allow to stand for a few minutes, it will be quite fragile when it first emerges so best to let it harden up a touch. Then slice and serve with a little bit of greenery. (And a thick lassi to extinguish any throat burning)

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