Wednesday, May 7th, 2014

Asparagus Tart? Yes Please.

P1300272So what have I been doing non-stop with the bumper crop of spring asparagus?

Making tarts.

Ever since I first saw a recipe for a Supper Tart in The Splendid Table’s How To Eat Supper, I’ve been a savory puff pastry tart fiend. The stuff really is a wonder for quickly turning a single or humble ingredient into an entire meal, or even something dinner-party worthy: It’s available at the supermarket, agreeable to use, cooks quickly, and is very flexible in terms of what ingredients you top it with (asparagus, summer tomatoes, roasted squash, etc.). Already this season I’ve made several tarts—for Easter lunch, for after school snack, for a cocktail party—and it never disappoints. So here’s a recipe, and feel free to add the cheese or not (or add a cheese of your liking), although I like to used something sharp. *I also have tried making this with blanched asparagus and raw asparagus, and I do think it comes out a bit better with the blanched.

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Recipe for Asparagus Tart

1 package of puff pastry (I use Pepperidge Farm), defrosted per the package instructions

2 bunches of asparagus, stalk trimmed

Zest of 1 lemon

Leaves from two sprigs of fresh thyme

Salt and Pepper

Olive oil

1 cup of grated gruyere (or your choice)

-Preheat the oven to 500 degrees.

-Bring a large pot of salted water to a boil then add the asparagus. Cook until the stalks are just a bit tender but still bright green (about 2 minutes). Quickly remove the stalks from the boiling water and plunge them into a bowl of cold ice water to cool down. Dry the stalks between dishtowels until ready to use.

-Unfold the two puff pastry sheets onto an ungreased baking sheet so that they are side by side. The shorter ends of the sheets will overlap in the middle, so press them gently together, and then fold over the edges (about 1/4 inch) all the way around to create a crust.

-Toss the blanched asparagus in a large bowl with the lemon zest, thyme leaves, a glug of olive oil (just enough to lightly coat, you don’t want them swimming), and salt and pepper. Once the asparagus is coated, place each stalk in a single layer on the puff pastry (you may need to lay some along the top, see photo above).

-Place the pastry in the oven and bake for 12 minutes. Remove the sheet, sprinkle the grated cheese evenly on the top, rotate the sheet 1/2 way (so the tart browns evenly), and bake for another 5 minutes or so (check on it before then, you want to make sure the edges are not burning).

-Remove the baking sheet from the oven and with a spatula, gently slide the tart off of the baking sheet and onto a cutting board. Let the tart cool for a couple of minutes and then serve warm or at room temperature. If you have some nice balsamic vinegar then drizzle it on top. Enjoy!

 

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