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Salicylate-free pot luck + white bean, caramelised onion and asparagus tart

Posted Nov 04 2009 10:06pm
What is up with that title? Never mind that it's too long - what the hell is a salicylate? Salicylic acid is a naturally occurring plant hormone that is found in a lot of fruits, vegetables and processed food. Some people have a sensitivity to salicylic acid. Reactions can vary from mild to extremely severe. There's a fair few recipes and websites on the internet for people with salicylic acid sensitivities, but as a few Melbourne vegan found out recently, not only are most painfully boring and bland (most spices contain the acid) but an alarming number of them suggest things like boiled chicken (ick!).

On Monday night Craig and Bec hosted a dual-purpose pot luck - to christen their new home and to create a bunch of tasty recipes for Bec's brother James who has a salicylate intolerance. All pot luck attendees were given a copy of a spread sheet James had devised listing the foods that were acceptable, those that could be used in small amounts, and those that were completely out. Many of us were amazed at the number of things James couldn't eat. All fruits except bananas and peeled pears were out; no citrus; no tomatoes, capsicum, basil, olive oil, eggplant, zucchini... Thankfully, legumes, most beans, tofu, garlic and onion were ok, so many of us had a starting point.

When I read the list I immediately starting forming a recipe in my head. Several alterations later and I came up with this:

White bean, caramelised onion and asparagus tart
pastry for one pie crust (recipe to follow)
3 cups cooked canellini beans
1/2 cup raw cashews, soaked in water
3 cloves garlic, crushed
1 onion, sliced very thinly
1 cup chopped chives
8 stalks asparagus, tough ends removed
4 tbs plus 2 tsp rice bran oil
3 tsp malt vinegar
salt to taste

Chop the asparagus spears into little chunks. Heat 1 tsp of oil in a fry pan over medium hear. Add half the garlic and the asparagus and saute until the asparagus is tender. Remove from the pan and set aside to cool.
Heat another tsp of oil in the same pan and add the onions. Cook, stirring frequently, until golden and caramelised. Set aside to cool.
In a food processor blend the asparagus, chives, and the rest of the garlic with 3 tbs oil, 1 tsp malt vinegar and 2 tsp salt until relatively smooth. Scoop into a large bowl. Place the cashews in the food processor and blend until they resemble coarse
crumbs. Add the beans, 1/3 cup water, 2 tsp malt vinegar and salt to taste and blend until smooth. Add the onions and blend briefly until combined.
Add the bean mix to the asparagus and fold together.
Preheat the oven to 180C.

Take dough out of the fridge and roll out on a floured surface into a circle 2" larger than your pie dish. Flip the dough into the dish and gently ease it into the corners. Trim the excess. Try not to stretch the dough too much to prevent it shrinking.
Fill the pie shell with the filling and bake for 35-40 minutes or until it starts to brown around the edges.

Shortcrust pastry
1 1/2 cups plain flour
1/2 cup marg
pinch of salt
ice water
Place the flour and salt into a large bowl. Add the marg in chunks. With a plastic spatula or pastry knife, cut the marg into the flour (like a chopping motion) until the mix resembles coarse crumbs. Add the water a little at a time, folding it in until the pastry comes together into a ball. DON'T add too much water. Wrap it in cling wrap or baking paper and place in the fridge for at least 45 minutes.

Try to keep the dough and your utensils as cold as possible for flakier pastry.

And what did everyone else make? Tim put together a pear pie, using the apple pie recipe from The Joy of Vegan Baking (minus the cinnamon and nutmeg).
James made "white man sushi" - Mountain bread filled with rice and other goodies.
Kristy and Toby made a caramelised onion quiche adapted from Vegan Brunch, and fudgecicles that I went mad for - I'm making these soon!
Cindy made an amazing pasta bake (I'm a bit of a sucker for these) using chickpeas and cashews as a base.
Craig made a giant pasty filled with roasted veg, and a nut slice slathered in cashew butter and maple syrup.
Danni and Steph brought a pasta salad with a creamy parsley dressing, and a sweet semolina halva pudding.
Bec's "failed" attempt at pasta sauce resulted in a rather tasty casserole baked over rice, and she made a saffron dahl.
Emily didn't stay for long, but she brought chocolate cookies.
James and Bec's sister brought a banana bread.

For more Salicylate-free recipes, check out this site.

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