by Tiffany Ludwig
Asparagus has arrived! In New York it's here, one of our favorite spring time treats. It’s best fresh and new. Look for ones that aren’t too large. If you only can find the larger ones just peel them before you use them, they’ll be just as tender that was as the young ones.
When you serve this very simple recipe it will feel elegant. It’s great along with a soup for lunch or dinner and makes a very nice addition to brunch.
The only prep you really need to do is getting your puff pastry out of the freezer and ready to use. The rest is a breeze.
Spring Asparagus Cheese Tart
by Tiffany Ludwig
1 sheet frozen puff pastry
1 ½ lb asparagus
1 1/2 cups of shredded cheese (Gruyere, Cheddar, Manchego or Comte are my favorite)
½ cup additional shredded cheese
2 tablespoon olive oil
¼ teaspoon kosher salt
Pepper to taste
Follow the puff pastry directions for use and thawing. It’s generally best to allow it to thaw overnight in the refrigerator. If you haven’t done this, you can thaw it on the counter; just keep a close eye on it and use it as soon as it’s pliable. Unwrap and unfold the puff pastry. Move it delicately, if you need to shape it or want to cut it you can, just be sure not to press too hard on the pastry, it needs to be able to puff when baked. This recipe is for one large tart. You could make individual tarts; just cut the sheets into smaller rectangles.
Preheat oven to 400 degrees.
Lay the puff pastry on a floured board to form a 13x10 inch rectangle. Leave a 1 inch border of puff pastry untouched and use a fork to prick the rest of the puff pastry center in ½ inch rows. Bake on a non-stick cookie sheet or one lined with parchment for 10-15 minutes, until just golden.
While the pastry is baking, prepare the asparagus by washing and trimming the bottom of the stems (simply break off the bottom of the stem, it will naturally break where needed). You can use them whole or slice them lengthwise. If they are very large spears peel them first. Toss them in the olive oil.
Beat the egg and add to 1 ½ cups shredded cheese, salt and pepper. Sprinkle this onto the once baked puff pastry, leaving the 1 inch border uncovered. Place the asparagus on top of the cheese mixture either randomly or in an organized line. Sprinkle the remaining ½ cup of cheese on top.
Bake until the cheese is slightly puffy and just before browning, 15-20 minutes. Serve warm or at room temperature.