After all the filling holiday meals I decided to go vegetarian the week between Christmas and New Year’s. So l was looking for some creative ideas, as well as a way to clean out the freezer and unused veggies… I came up with this (Inspired by Carla Hall’s Acorn Squash Tart). It took all of five minutes to assemble and 30 minutes to bake – and I guarantee you everyone will ohh and ahh. I posted a photo on social media (because yes, I’m that girl) and my notifications blew up!
- 1 sheet thawed puff pastry (store bought is perfectly acceptable!)
- A dozen-ish baby asparagus
- 1/2 cup gruyere – shredded (or whatever your favorite cheese is)
- S&P to taste (salt varies based on the cheese you use. Parm – use very little if any salt)
- 1 egg
- 1 tblsp water
- Preheat oven to 375 degrees F
- Lay out puff pastry onto a piece of parchment paper. Using a rolling pin roll out into a 9-by-11-inch rectangle – try to get the seems smooth. Score 1/2 inch in from the edge, all the way around, using a paring knife (this will allow the edges to rise and create a border) . Slide the pastry (on the parchment) onto a baking sheet. Poke the middle all over with a fork so it does not puff up during baking.
- Spread a thin layer of cheese inside the scored area. Because you are not pre-baking this be careful not to use too much cheese or the pastry will not cook and will be soggy.
- Trim asparagus to fit the length of the pastry and line up like little soldiers. If all that is available are mature thick asparagus – cut in half length-wise or else they won’t cook (without burning the pastry). Or, you can lightly roast them first and then add them to the tart. Up to you…
- Whisk egg and water together to make an egg wash and brush all over exposed edges of pastry.
- Sprinkle with salt and pepper.
Ready to Cook?
Place in middle rack for 30 minutes or until pastry is light golden brown. Once done, remove and let cook for 5 minutes. Slice into 3-4″ squares and serve. This pairs nicely with a lightly dressed arugula salad.
The Perfect Bite
Puff Pastry is best eaten immediately as it will lose its crispness.If you do find yourself re-heating it – use the oven (or toaster oven). Do NOT microwave.
The Perfect Pairing
A light fruity wine like A to Z Pinot Noir pairs wonderfully with the nuttiness of the gruyere.
The Perfect Health
Did you know that asparagus can help fight cancer? This herbaceous plant—along with avocado, kale and Brussels sprouts—is a particularly rich source of glutathione, a detoxifying compound that helps break down carcinogens and other harmful compounds like free radicals. This is why eating asparagus may help protect against and fight certain forms of cancer, such as bone, breast, colon, larynx and lung cancers. Read more about all its health properties at Eating Well.