I was shopping in Aldi (the Which Grocery Retailer of the year 2012 and a very inexpensive shop to shop in) the other day when I picked up some British Asparagus that was marked at 50% of the regular price. And it was Asparagus tips and the thin new season tender ones to boot! Score!!
As soon as I saw it I had in mind that I wanted to make some Asparagus Tarts with it. The Toddster is a pie man and when I can disguise vegetables that aren't peas and carrots in the form of a tart I am happy, and he is happy and all is right with the world.
I normally always have puff pastry in the freezer or refrigerator. It comes in very handy. I usually buy it fresh when it's on special and then if it gets close to it's sell buy date and I haven't used it, I bang it into the freezer. My motto is you can never have too much puff pastry to hand! If you have a packet of puff pastry . . . you have a meal in waiting.
These beautiful little tarts are so very easy to make. You simply shape, brush and bake. Then you punch down the centres, spread them with a bit of salad cream, lay on cheese and the asparagus, sprinkle with some olive oil and salt and pepper and bake some more . . .
Then when the crust is all perfectly crisp and brown . . . and the asparagus is perfectly roasted crispy tender . . . you sprinkle them with a bit of Parmesan and bake them again just until it melts. I love Parmesan cheese . . . it packs a lot of punch and you don't have to use tons of it to get some flavour.
I like to drizzle the finished tart with a bit of French Dressing or some White Balsamic for some extra flavour. The end result is a fabulous tart with lovely crisp pastry, beautifully and perfectly cooked asparagus . . . easy to create, quick to make . . . and they are something which you would not be ashamed to serve to even your most discerning guests.
You can serve them on a bed of Baby Salad Greens or not as you wish . . . most impressive. They are not a lot of work, and everybody's happy. You can't ask for much more than that.
Ohhh . . . I do so love Asparagus season . . . it's very early in it now, so thankfully I have quite a few more weeks to enjoy it! Yippee!!
Beautiful fresh spring Asparagus atop a crisp bed of flaky pastry, salad cream and cheese. Deliciously easy! An excellent first course or light lunch.
I packet of ready roll, all butter puff pastry
6 TBS of salad cream (I used the chive and onion flavored one)
6 slices of Jarlsberg cheese
2 packets of Asparagus tips, washed and trimmed (enough to lay out
on top of each tart in even measure)
a bit of olive oil to drizzle
1 small free range egg beaten with 1 tsp water
flaked sea salt and coarsely ground black pepper
3 - 4 TBS coarsely grated Parmesan Cheese
Prepared French Dressing, or White Balsamic vinegar to drizzle
Preheat the oven to 200*C/400*F/ gas mark 6. Line a large baking tray with baking parchment. Unroll your puff pastry and cut into six equally sized rectangles. Place them a few inches apart on the baking tray. Using a sharp knife, cut a thin border around the circumference of each, taking care not to cut all the way through. Using a fork prick the insides of the rectangles all over. Brush the border with a bit of the egg wash. Bake in the heated oven for 10 minutes.
Remove from the oven and carefully punch down the pastry in the middle with the back of a spoon. Spread each tart with 1 TBS of the salad cream and top with a slice of Jarlsberg. Lay out the asparagus evenly spaced across each tart, toe to tail. Drizzle with a bit of olive oil and sprinkle with salt and pepper. Return to the oven and bake for about 10 minutes longer, until the pastry is golden brown and the asparagus is lightly roasted, but still crisp.
Sprinkle some of the Parmesan cheese over top of each tart. Bang back into the oven for 2 or 3 minutes to melt the Parmesan. Serve hot and drizzled with a bit of French Dressing or White Balsamic Vinegar. Delicious!
Note: you can also serve these on a bed of baby spring salad greens.