Tuesday, May 22, 2012
Asparagus and cheese tart recipe
Originally posted in May 2011, but I'm bumping this up again, as the local asparagus season has began.
Isn't it pretty? This lovely topless tart can be served either warm (perhaps with a green side salad) or cold (cut into thin slices to accompany drinks). It's a simple tart - a puff pastry base (I made a quick rough puff pastry myself) is covered with a layer of grated cheese, followed by an egg and cream mixture, and finally topped with lightly cooked asparagus spears. You could certainly mix the cheese in to the egg and cream mixture, but I loved the visual effect of using a separate cheese layer.
The basic idea is from the UK-based food writer and photographer Alastair Hendy via the always-inspirational Delicious Days, but I omitted the potato layer.
Asparagus and cheese tart
Serves 8 to 10
500 g puff pastry (store-bought or home-made rough puff pastry)
24 medium-sized fresh green asparagus spears
150 g Gouda or Gruyère cheese, coarsely grated
3 large eggs
200 ml fresh cream (whipping, heavy or double)
sea salt and freshly ground black pepper
freshly grated nutmeg
Snap off the hard and woody lower end of the asparagus spears (these can be used to make stock, for instance). Cook the asparagus spears in a simmering and lightly salted water for about 2 minutes. Drain, rinse quickly under cold water and drain again. Put aside.
Line a rectangular pie dish (approximately 25x35 cm) with a parchment paper. Roll out a puff pastry so it'd cover the base and come up the sides a little. Prick with a fork here and there.
Scatter the grated cheese over the base.
Whisk the eggs with cream, season with salt, pepper and grated nutmeg. Pour carefully over the cheese.
Place asparagus spears on top.
Bake in a preheated 200 C oven for about 30 minutes, until the tart is nicely golden on top and the puff pastry is cooked.