A Spring Asparagus Tart gives us an excuse to celebrate the season with family and friends. It seems like we are a bit behind spring’s expected arrival, and though I’m wondering when my early strawberries will arrive, local asparagus has not let me down. That is something to get excited about
Why is it that adults often say they never appreciated asparagus until now? I wonder if the problem is the way asparagus was prepared for them in their youth. How do you enjoy asparagus – or better yet, when was the last time you gave it a try?
The easiest way to cook asparagus is to roast it in spears or pieces, tossed with olive oil, fresh garlic, salt and pepper. Another great way to use asparagus is in a cream frittata or baked with puff pastry. Cheese, asparagus and puff pastry…how can you go wrong? It makes the perfect lunch or light dinner. We recently hosted a game night and I served two different Spring Asparagus Tarts with a big salad. Everyone loved the Tarts and helped themselves to seconds!
I prefer using a blend of smoked gouda and gruyere or fontina in my Tarts. If you’d like to make the Tart without eggs, you can layer cheese and dressed asparagus. Either way, this recipe is a cinch to prepare and a real treat!
- 10-12 ounces asparagus, steamed or raw
- 1 egg
- 2 tablespoons plain yogurt
- 1 cup (about 3 ounces) grated fontina, Gouda or farmer’s cheese
- 1 cup (about 3 ounces) Gruyere
- Flour, for dusting
- 1 sheet frozen puff pastry, thawed
- Olive oil
- Fresh lemon zest
- Preheat the oven to 400ºF.
- If precooking the asparagus before baking, blanch in simmering water; remove and cool in an ice-water bath. When cooked, place on a clean kitchen towel to dry.
- In a medium bowl, whisk the egg and yogurt and stir in the cheese; set aside.
- On a floured surface, roll out the puff pastry into a 16 x 10-inch rectangle. Lightly score a border 1-inch from the edge of the rectangle. Using a fork, pierce the pastry, within the border, at 1-inch intervals.
- Bake the pastry for 15 minutes, until golden. Allow to rest for 5 minutes.
- Spread the cheese mixture over the pastry, within the border.
- Trim the asparagus to fit crosswise inside the pastry. Toss the asparagus with the olive oil and season with the salt and pepper. Arrange on the cheese mixture, alternating tips to tops.
- Bake for 20 to 25 minutes, until the golden and asparagus is softened.
- Serve warm; sprinkle with the lemon zest just before serving.