Asparagus & Herbs Tart
I'm posting a bit out of order but I'm enamored with this recipe.
This asparagus tart came out of nowhere. I don't even really like asparagus. It's always tasted just okay and I hate how chewy it can become. But this was where I fell in love with asparagus. I'm not going to lie though, I'm sure the puff pastry had a little something to do with it...In happy news, my dear sister had a dear baby last week and he's adorable! I normally don't think much of newborns, I feel like they need some time to get appropriately cute (the chubbier the better), but he and my favorite niece were definitely the exceptions, and no, I'm not biased (hush).
This has only made me severely miss my niece and new nephew and I've overall been homesick for Atlanta. To the point where I've stopped procrastinating on all my papers because it's a welcome distraction that make the days move quicker...
I could have made a puff pastry from scratch but I didn't have time. With Joe's exam coming up and my papers, I've been taking little shortcuts where cooking is very much involved but I don't have to make all the parts. And I like it!
I've been very proud of myself for actually making real main dishes instead of just desserts and frozen meals. I didn't want Joe just eating ramen all the time, since we're both trying to be healthy and get all our food groups in.
This week I made a Sichuan peppercorn roasted chicken and risotto. I even made Thai penang curry with tofu (from a paste) and Viet spring rolls. I should win a girlfriend award. Just sayin'.
I just noticed my food definitely leans toward Asia, almost every time...
As for shortcuts, I already know I can make a puff pastry if I must, and Trader Joe's makes a delicious one. I highly recommend it for this tart.
Joe's parents had visited weeks earlier and brought a ton of vegetables that Joe promptly brought over and shoved in my vegetable drawer. It was only a few days later when I decided to check and found an abundance of asparagus. So I made this tart within 30 minutes and it was so delicious I wanted to eat the whole thing straight out of the oven. Joe kept raving about the tart between bites, he never learned not to talk with his mouth full.
This is incredibly easy and the perfect weeknight meal when you don't have time for anything more. It would be even better cut into pieces and served as appetizers... This wasn't really a meal for Joe but for me it was. Also there was enough cheese on it to keep my lactose intolerant tummy too busy to tell me I'm still hungry..
Next time, I want to try some smoked salmon or ham on it, since I just plum forgot this time!
Asparagus & Herbs Tart
Serves 6 ladies or 2 very hungry beasts
1 puff pastry -I bought Trader Joe's and it's already rolled out in a square and pricked
Cheese -amount can vary, I'm lactose intolerant and used <1/4 cup low-fat blend
1 bunch of asparagus
Herbs -fresh is better but dried works great! I went Italian with basil, oregano, parsley
Salt -truffle if you're fancy
4 cloves of garlic minced
1 beaten egg
Preheat oven to 375 degrees F
Bring the asparagus to a boil and snap off the hard ends of the spears.
Remove from the water and salt lightly.
Let cool and then slice each one long ways.
Lay out the puff pastry.
Cut off the edges on each side and stack the edges on each side that you cut it off from creating a border of sorts
Beat the egg and then brush it onto the pastry.
Spread the cheese all over the pastry, along with the garlic.
Line up the asparagus on top any which way you want you can put the cheese last if you like, but I wanted the asparagus to be on display
Sprinkle the herbs and pepper on top.
Bake for about 30 minutes or until the puff pastry is golden.
Serve and eat immediately! It can be reheated just fine but the taste will be diminished.
I hadn't posted it yet, but I like the Laduree cookbook's recipe for a puff pastry, if you want to try it at home:
2 1/2 tsp coarse salt
1 cup water
5 tbs butter
+ 1 1/2 cups + 4tbs butter (cold)
4 cups cake flour
Melt the 5 tbs of butter and dissolve the salt in the water. Place the flour in a large bowl, add in the water/salt mixture and the melted butter.
Mix until the dough is homogenous and holds together. (This is called the détrempe).
Form the dough on a work surface into a 6x6in square. Wrap in plastic wrap and refrigerate an hour until firm.
Put the rest of the cold butter onto a sheet of parchment paper. Using a rolling pin, pound on the butter to soften it. Using the parchment paper, fold the butter back on itself and continue to soften it. It must have the same consistency as the dough.
Form the butter into a 6x6in square (This is called the beurrage).
Roll out the detrempe to obtain a 12x12in square and place the beurrage in the center. Fold the 4 corners of the dough into the center to completely enclose the butter. No butter should be exposed.
Roll out this package of dough to a rectangle 24 inches and then fold it in thirds like a business letter. Give this folded dough (called pâton) a one quarter turn, roll it out again to a length of 24 inches and once again fold it in thirds. Do this about 6 times, allowing the dough to rest for 2 hours in the fridge after 2 turns.
Once completed the 6 turns, allow the dough to rest in the fridge for a minimum of 2 hours or ideally overnight. Keep in the fridge until ready to use.
So what do you guys make during finals or stressful times when you don't have as much time to ponder your eating schedule?