5.01.2011

Asparagus-Ricotta Tart

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It has been a couple of weeks since my last post. Since then, I have grown older, hosted Easter dinner, got a haircut and purchased a new laptop. I am most excited about the laptop. It allows me to watch Netflix in bed, and I used it as an excuse to redecorate two rooms, creating a little office for myself, in which I currently sit, staring at my finely framed Monet.  And hopefully, now that I don't have to share a computer with the student husband, I will blog more often.

But back to food, and Easter dinner specifically. This was our first year hosting. The lamb contest tradition continued. Although it was hard to say who won with so much good food on the table. We roasted the husband's home-grown carrots, had swiss chard with chickpeas, pilaf, and this year I tried something new -- an asparagus tart. Or asparagus pizza, what my father-in-law kept calling it throughout the meal. I quickly forgave him on the account that he's old and because he declared it the most interesting dish of the day. Interesting it was. And delicious. And pretty to look at with the little spears poking out. The tart tasted fresh and cheesy. It was simple to make. So I will definitely to serving this again.

My picture taking wasn't too great for this post. But since I had filling left over, I made more mini tarts later in the week and documented that as well. Enjoy!

Asparagus-Ricotta Tart
adapted from www.epicurious.com

1 sheet frozen puff pastry (half of 17.3-ounce package), thawed
1 egg, beaten to blend
1 pound slender asparagus spears, trimmed
1/2 cup whole-milk ricotta cheese
4 teaspoons extra-virgin olive oil, divided
1/8 teaspoon salt
1 1/2 ounces thinly sliced soppressata or other salami, cut into 1/2-inch pieces (I omitted this altogether, opting for a vegetarian side dish)
2/3 cup grated Comté cheese (about 3 ounces), divided (I used Gruyère)


1) Preheat oven to 400°F. Roll out pastry on floured surface to 13x10-inch rectangle. Cut off 1/2-inch-wide strip from all 4 sides. Brush strips on 1 side with some of beaten egg, then press strips, egg side down, onto edges of pastry to adhere, forming raised border. Brush border with egg; reserve remaining beaten egg. Transfer to baking sheet. Chill while preparing filling.
2) Steam asparagus just until crisp tender, about 3 minutes (I boiled mine for about 5 minutes). Transfer to bowl of ice water to cool. Drain. Cut off top 2 to 3 inches of asparagus tops; set aside. 
3) Coarsely puree remaining asparagus stalks in processor. Add remaining beaten egg, ricotta, 3 teaspoons oil, and salt;process until thick puree forms. Transfer to bowl; stir in salami and 1/3 cup Comté cheese; season with pepper. Spread mixture evenly over pastry. Sprinkle with remaining 1/3 cup Comté cheese. Toss asparagus tips with remaining 1 teaspoon oil; arrange tips over filling.
4) Bake tart until filling is set, about 25 minutes. Serve warm or at room temperature.

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