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Saturday, 26 June 2010

Asparagus tart

We're coming to the end of the asparagus season now, but I reckon you still have time enough to nab a bunch of English asparagus to whip up this tart.  Mr F and I have eaten a lot of asparagus this season in a variety of guises.  Asparagus tart has been a big favourite, but we also enjoyed it simply steamed and served with grated hardboiled eggs, fried breadcrumbs, parsley and capers.  Mr F also had considerable success with Georgio Locatelli's recipe for asparagus risotto; the end result really allows the sweetness of the vegetable to shine through.

This recipe serves four as a light supper, and is great served with a lemon-dressed salad and a glass of dry white wine.

Asparagus tart

One packet of all butter puff pastry
A bunch of asparagus
2 eggs
100g grated cheese (cheddar, aged pecorino, gruyere, or a mixture of all three)
Small bunch of spring onions
Teaspoon of grainy mustard
2 tablespoons of Greek yoghurt or half fat creme fraiche
Handful of flat leaf parsley, finely chopped

Preheat the oven to 180 degrees C.

Roll out the puff pastry until it forms a rectangle about 0.5 cm thick.  Place on a baking sheet and chill in the fridge for about 15 minutes.  Place a sheet of grease-proof paper over the pastry and put a slightly smaller metal baking sheet on top.  Bake the pastry for about 15 to 20 minutes, or until the exposed edge of the pastry is golden brown and risen.

Prepare the asparagus by breaking off the woody ends.  Parboil in well salted water for a minute and a half.  Drain and cool under cold running water.

Beat the eggs, yoghurt or creme fraiche, cheese, mustard and spring onions together to form a thick-ish paste.  Season well, especially with black pepper (you can go easy on the salt owing to the presence of the cheese).  Spread the mixture on to the pastry sheet, leaving the border exposed. Place the asparagus on the mixture (have your pastry in a "landscape" alignment and ensure that the spears are all pointing in the same direction).  Bake for 20 to 25 minutes.  Allow to cool for a few minutes before serving.

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