Evans, a familiar face from the SBS television series Gourmet Farmer, paints a picture of life on his Fat Pig Farm in Tasmania’s Huon Valley in The Commons – a book described by its publisher as “part how-to, part journal, part cookbook”.
Organised by season, it features photos from the farm alongside more than 100 recipes ranging from beer and beef cheek pie, to walnut, chocolate and whisky tart.
Evans will launch The Commons at a meet-the-author event co-hosted by Deviation Road Winery and Matilda Bookshop at the Longwood-based winery this Thursday (tickets and details here).
Spring Garlic and Spinach Tart
We grow a lot of our own garlic, but there’s a window of time where the stuff in the ground doesn’t have big fat bulbs yet and the garlic from last year has all sprouted. It’s at this magic moment that we use spring garlic: the straight, leek-looking stems of growing garlic. It’s milder and sweeter, and lovely in a tart like this. Clean it as you would a leek, discarding any really tough green bits and watching for dirt between the leaves.
150g butter, chilled and diced
300g (2 cups) plain (all-purpose) flour
Good pinch of salt
2 tablespoons plain yoghurt, chilled
1 tablespoon olive oil
2 stems spring garlic, washed and finely sliced
2 handfuls of young spinach leaves, washed and finely shredded (usually about 1 large bunch, depending on where you buy it)
5 free-range egg yolks
250g (1 cup) sour cream
100g grated aged cheddar or parmesan
For the pastry, rub the butter into the flour and salt until it resembles breadcrumbs (or you can pulse it in a food processor). Add the yoghurt and enough ice-cold water to make a soft dough, kneading until just combined.
Rest for 30 minutes, then roll out to fit a 20cm × 6cm tin. Rest for another 30 minutes.
Preheat the oven to 180C (350F) and blind-bake the pastry.
To make the filling, heat the oil in a pretty big frying pan over a low heat and gently fry the garlic until it’s yieldingly soft. Add the spinach and cook, stirring often, until wilted. (Popping a lid on can speed up this process.)
Spread the garlic and spinach evenly over the base of the tart case. If you like, return the pan to the heat and reduce any runny cooking juices before adding to the tart.
Beat the yolks, add the sour cream and beat until just combined. Season with pepper and a little salt, remembering that the cheese is salty. Stir in three-quarters of the cheese and carefully pour this egg mixture into the tart case to fill. Top with a little more cheese.
Reheat the oven to 180C (350F) and bake for 12–15 minutes, or until the egg mixture has set. Serve the tart warm or at room temperature, with salad.
This is an edited extract from The Commons by Matthew Evans, published by Hardie Grant Books AU, $60. Photographer: © Alan Benson 2019
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