Asparagus Tart

This recipe is a bit of a cheat. It uses 6 ingredients – if you don’t count salt and pepper – is incredibly easy and I think looks quite impressive.   Also, from my point of view, it uses, and showcases, asparagus and when you’ve got a glut of it growing in the garden you need ideas as to how to use it!  Do be warned a big fat bunch of asparagus recipes will be coming your way.  You can scale this up or down quite easily.  Just bake more or less.  I like it in two person sized tarts aesthetically, and so that’s the recipe I’ve given here,  but it’s up to you.

Asparagus really is amazing stuff.  Though it has a relatively short season in the UK it makes the most of it – it can grow up to 6 inches in one day given sunny weather.  In the warm snaps we’ve been having it’s been showing off!  I’ve been making soup, using it as soldiers to dip into soft boiled eggs, roasting it, using it in stir fries and it goes on.  To be indelicate,  I don’t think a day goes by where my pee doesn’t smell of asparagus.  (Yes that is a side effect for those of you who didn’t know).

Enough of the personal details, and on to the recipe.  Lovely served with a simple tomato and olive salad as here, or any salad really but it’s also great on its own.  You can even make dinky ones to use as canapés if you are feeling fancy, though I’d probably just make a big one and cut it into small squares which is less faff but not as pretty.   If you aren’t vegan by all means use all butter puff pastry, ricotta instead of the vegan cream cheese, and ordinary Parmesan if that’s what you fancy or have.  Could be fun though to try this as a vegan dish particularly if you don’t normally eat vegan food to see what all the fuss is about.  It’s delicious with or without the dairy.
Ingredients (serves 2 as a main course)

  • Half a 320g pack ready rolled puff pastry (use the other half for Crescentini) or a similar recipe
  • 8 fat or 16 medium spears of asparagus (approx)
  • zest of half a lemon
  • 6 tbsp vegan cream cheese (or ricotta)
  • salt and pepper
  • 2 tbsp grated vegan Parmesan style cheese
  • A drizzle of rapeseed or olive Oil

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Method

  1. Lay out the pastry on a baking sheet lined with parchment (halve the roll into two fat rectangles)
  2. Lightly score around the edge (about 2.5cm or 1 inch in) being careful not to go all the way through.
  3. Spread over the cream cheese or ricotta so it stays within the scored borders and finely grate over the lemon zest.
  4. Season with salt and pepper.
  5. Halve the asparagus spears lengthways if fat, and lay them in an orderly “queue” on top of the cheese trimming the length so, once again, it stays within the borders.
  6. Grate over the parmesan
  7. Drizzle with oil
  8. Place in an oven heated to 200c and bake for 20 mins.EE1E41C7-89C0-47CC-8C3A-1984E6926020

 

 

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