Monday, June 13, 2011

Asparagus Tart

My husband and I went to visit my aunt, uncle and cousins recently.  We had a great visit. 

We stayed for lunch.  And my aunt made this tart for us.

It was amazing.

I came home and made it immediately.

While it may appear to be "girl food," do not be deceived.  My husband thinks a meal does not count as such if it does not include a (large) piece of meat and he would never consider touching girl food.  He loves this tart.  Therefore, this tart is not girl food.

So be encouraged: you can make this for the girls in your life as well as the boys in your life.  And they will love you for it.

Especially if you use fresh ricotta cheese.

So here's what we're doing: puff pastry topped with ricotta cheese topped with a sauteed asparagus/shallot mixture topped with parmesan cheese.  Baked.  Cut.  Devoured.  Delicious.

Told you.

Start with a sheet of puff pastry.  There are actually two sheets of pastry in a box so we'll make something yummy next week with the other sheet.  Puff pastry is in the freezer section with phyllo dough.  My aunt actually used phyllo dough as her crust and it was delicious as well.  Since puff pastry comes frozen, you'll want to defrost it on the counter for about half an hour before you try to unfold it.

Line a 12x18 baking sheet with parchment paper.  Lay the thawed sheet of puff pastry on the parchment paper and use your fingers to press it out to make it a little larger.

Go ahead and preheat your oven to 450 degrees.

Now chop up a shallot.  I love shallots because they are like little onions but they also have a slight garlic flavor. 

Heat a tablespoon of olive oil in a skillet.

Toss in the shallot and saute it for a minute or so. 

Now we're ready for the asparagus. 

This is nice, big purple asparagus from my parents' asparagus patch.  It is very asparagus-y in flavor and it's about twice as fat as regular asparagus.  If you're using regular asparagus, then you can cut it into larger pieces because it will be thinner than mine.

Chop it up into chunks or long pieces

and add it to the shallots.  And add some salt.

Saute for about five minutes, until the asparagus starts to get tender.  It doesn't need to really cook here because we're going to put into a really hot oven for about 20 minutes, so it will have plenty of time to cook then.

Now back to the puff pastry.  Put a scoop of ricotta cheese on top

and spread it around.  If you have fresh ricotta cheese, by all means use it.

Do you like my pretty little pattern that I made with my spreader?

Now that the asparagus and shallots have sauteed, spread them (relatively) evenly over the tart base.

And now sprinkle some parmesan cheese on top.

Seriously.  How could this possibly be anything less than amazing?

The recipe calls to brush the puff pastry crust with an egg wash, but I don't have a pastry brush, so I skipped this step.  But if you like to brush your pastry, beat up an egg with a little splash of water and then brush away.  It will give your crust a nice shiny golden effect.

Bake it for 20 minutes or so.


Cut it into eight slices and serve immediately.

This is a great lunch.  It's also a great dinner side with some grilled chicken and a salad.

Thanks, Aunt Miss, for such a great recipe!

Asparagus Tart

1 sheet (1/2 box) puff pastry, thawed
1 T olive oil
1 shallot, minced
1 lb asparagus, tough ends trimmed off and cut into pieces
1/4 tsp salt
1/2 cup ricotta cheese
1/2 cup shredded parmesan cheese
1/2 tsp coarse ground black pepper

Line a 12x18 sheet pan with parchment paper.  Unfold the puff pastry and place it on the parchment paper.  Using your fingers, press the puff pastry out to make a larger rectangle.  Spread the ricotta cheese evenly on top of the puff pastry, leaving a 1/2 inch border around all sides.

Heat the olive oil in a skillet over medium heat.  Add the shallot and saute for one minute.  Add the asparagus and stir in the salt and saute for five minutes.

Sprinkle the asparagus/shallot mixture over the ricotta.  Top with the parmesan cheese and the pepper.

Bake in a 450 degree oven for 20-23 minutes until the pastry is puffed and golden.

Cut into 8 slices and serve immediately.


EJ Chang said...

Delicious and super easy to make. Love it! Thanks for sharing!

Elizabeth said...

So glad you liked it Elisabeth! It's one of our favorites right now.