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Tuesday, March 20, 2012
Spring is here. Or is it? I'll believe it when I see it.
The date is officially tomorrow, March 21, but since it's been so unseasonably warm here, I figured I would get a head start on my spring vegetables (I did see rhubarb in the grocery store, a sure sign of spring!).
The local asparagus is not available until May in these parts, but I thought I would share this one with you anyway, just in time for Easter (you can thank me later).
This is my favorite asparagus tart so far, and I have made MANY.
The original recipe calls for a good salami, but I substituted speck (a smoked prosciutto). If you can't find (or don't want to spend the big bucks) on Comte, a French style Gruyere (that is so good!), then substitute a Gruyere or Swiss. Even Parimigiano Reggiano is a nice choice.
And here is that puff pastry again.....I took Claudia's suggestion and wrote to Pepperidge Farm, telling them how much I like their product and constantly blab about it on my blog and that I should get a lifetime supply of puff pastry as advertising fees.
Well, don't you know, a week later, I received a coupon in the mail for -$1.00 off the purchase of their product. WOW, what sports. (no comment).
Best Asparagus Tart: (adapted from Bon Appetit)
1 sheet frozen puff pastry (half of 17.3-ounce package), thawed
1 egg, beaten to blend
1 pound slender asparagus spears, trimmed
3/4 cup whole-milk ricotta cheese
3 tbsp olive oil
1 teaspoon salt
freshly ground black pepper
1 1/2 ounces thinly sliced soppressata, or other salami, cut into 1/2-inch pieces
2/3 cup grated Comté cheese (about 3 ounces), divided
Roll out the defrosted puff pastry to fit a half sheet pan. Keep chilled in the fridge until ready to use.
I blanched my asparagus spears in some water in the microwave for 2.5 minutes and they came out perfectly, but you can blanch them anyway you like, I was being lazy.
Cut 2-3" from the tops of the asparagus. Mix with a tablespoon of olive oil and set aside.
In a food processor, puree the ricotta cheese, egg, 2 tbsp olive oil, salt and asparagus stalks until a light green puree forms.
With a spoon, hand mix in the chopped salami or ham and 1/3 cup of Comte cheese (do not process in the machine). This is your filling.
Spread the asparagus ricotta filling over the prepared puff pastry on the half sheet pan, leaving a 1" border on the sides.
Carefully fold over the sides and brush with an egg wash or cold water to seal the edges.
Sprinkle a bit more Comte cheese over the ricotta and decorate with the asparagus tops.
Bake for 23-25 minutes in a 400F oven.
Let rest for a few minutes before diving in. This smells divine while baking and tastes even better than it smells!