I’ve been wanting to make something special for dinner since we’ve returned home from vacation, something springy and lovely. And InnBrooklyn provided me the perfect reason: virtual veg of the month club! A fantastic idea that I look forward to participating in every month.
This inaugural month’s theme is asparagus, perfect for spring. So I decided to make my favorite asparagus recipe: Asparagus Tart.
Now, this tart has a lot more going for it than asparagus, but I have to take a moment here for a short diatribe on recipe naming. I feel like lately (or has it always been this way, and I never noticed it? You foodies will have to enlighten me) many recipes list virtually all their ingredients in the title. This formula seems not only unwieldy but unquestionably banal. Who wants to know every ingredient in the recipe right up front? So, while under the super descriptive regime my dish would probably be called “Asparagus, Gruyère and Carmelized Onion Tart,” I’m sticking with Asparagus Tart. The rest is a lovely surprise, albeit not anymore.
The tart is made with store-bought puff pastry, which makes it pretty easy but also fantastically delicate and buttery.
I adapted this dish from Martha Stewart’s Everyday Food recipe for Asparagus and Gruyere Tart (see, here we go with the listing of all the ingredients, since that’s really all that’s in her tart). One addition I made? Caramelized onions. Which have to be one of the most delicious things on earth. I kind of think of them as the vegetarian’s bacon. (Would you agree?)
- flour for dusting
- 1 sheet frozen puff pastry, thawed
- 1/2 red onion, thinly sliced
- 1 cup grated Leerdammer cheese, or other Swiss-type cheese (Gruyère, Emmentaler)
- 1 bunch asparagus, washed and trimmed evenly
- 2 tbsp olive oil
- salt and pepper
Preheat oven to 400°. On a floured surface, roll the puff pastry into a 16-by-10-inch rectangle. Trim uneven edges. Place pastry on parchment paper or a Silpat on a baking sheet. With a sharp knife, lightly score pastry dough 1 inch in from the edges to mark a rectangle. Using a fork, pierce dough inside the markings at 1/2-inch intervals. Bake until golden, about 1o minutes.
Meanwhile, heat 1 tbsp olive oil in a pan. Sauté the red onion in the oil over medium high heat until caramelized and golden, about 10 minutes. Take the onion off the heat and set aside.
Remove pastry shell from oven. Sprinkle the grated cheese inside the “shell, avoiding the outer 1″ crust. Arrange the red onion over the top of the cheese, spreading it out evenly. Trim the bottoms of the asparagus spears to fit crosswise inside the tart shell; arrange in a single layer over the cheese and onion, alternating ends and tips. Brush or spray with olive oil and season with salt and pepper. Bake until spears are tender, about 15 minutes.