I love asparagus. I don’t eat it often as it’s so expensive in my region with the exception of the local harvest in late spring, which happens to be right now. So, to celebrate my most recent acquisition of these lovely spears of deliciousness, I made a simple puff pastry tart which I’m sharing with you here. A version of this asparagus tart, the (Asparagus Gruyere Tart) by none other than Martha Stewart is listed as one of the recipes in my post “Spotlight on Spring Produce: Asparagus“.
The secret to this tart is that you can substitute a lot of different cheeses for the traditional gruyere and fontina, and you’ll come up with your own amazing recipe. In my case, I decided to try one of my other guilty pleasures, Herb and Garlic Boursin cheese in place of fontina, and boy oh boy was this delicious! Paired with some fresh Parmesan grated off the block and a standard frozen all-butter puff pastry base, my “springtime garden party” vision was achieved, and my tummy was a happy, happy puppy.
Quick and Easy 3-Cheese Asparagus Tart
YIELD: 6 servings | PREP: 15 mins | BAKE: 15-18 mins
- 1 sheet frozen all-butter puff pastry, thawed
- 1 container/225g Boursin*, crème fraiche, or mascarpone cheese, room temperature/soft
- ¼ cup/54g Gruyère cheese, finely grated
- Finely grated zest of 1 lemon (best to use a Microplane style grater for this)
- 500g/~12-15 thin asparagus spears, bases trimmed to fit inside tart border
- 1 small shallot, sliced thinly
- 1-2 tbsp/15-30mL Italian dressing
- ¼ cup/30g Panko bread crumbs (or other store-bought breadcrumbs)
- 2 tbsp/13g Parmesan cheese, shredded
- ¼ tsp/2g Kosher or Sea salt
- ⅛ tsp or 1 healthy pinch fresh cracked black pepper
- Garnish: a few stems of your favourite fresh herbs such as rosemary, basil, or thyme (optional)
* Best to choose Boursin or another cheese that is already flavoured with herbs and spices, but if your chosen cheese is plain, then finely mince some of the fresh herbs with a dash of salt and pepper and mix in thoroughly.
- Preheat oven to 400°F/205°C; place rack in middle of oven.
- Unfold thawed puff pastry on a layer of parchment paper and gently roll the dough out to a 9″x13″ rectangle; don’t worry about being too exact. Alternatively, for a smaller but “puffier” tart, fold thawed puff pastry sheet in half along the long side; cut the halves in two, then brush a small amount of water on the bottom half and affix the top half onto it.
- Transfer the dough, including the parchment paper, to a baking sheet. To create a frame within the pastry dough, run a blunt knife to score (do not cut through) about one inch in from the edge of the rectangle.
- Combine your chosen soft cheese, Gruyère and lemon zest, then carefully spread it inside this border.
- Arrange the asparagus* in single, tightly-packed horizontal rows over top of the cheese mixture. Add as much of the thinly sliced shallot overtop as you like, then brush the asparagus and shallots plus the top border of the tart lightly with Italian dressing.
- Combine remaining ingredients with a small squirt more of Italian dressing and sprinkle sparingly overtop of asparagus.
- Bake for 15-18 minutes, or until puffed and golden. Garnish with leaves of fresh thyme or other fresh herb, if desired. Let cool on a rack on its parchment about 5 minutes, then cut into slices. Serve warm or cold.