Asparagus might have been specially made for the tart treatment—use long spears for a square pan or short ones for a rectangular pan.–Alastair Hendy
LC A Matter Of Course Note
When it comes to entertaining, we’re all for appearance and, let’s be honest here, ease. This asparagus tart recipe has got your back in all of the aforementioned categories. A handy standby for just about any spring occasion, whether first-course, main course, maybe even the only course.
Asparagus Tart Recipe
Hands-On Time: 20 minutes | Total Time: 1 hour | Serves 4
- 1 bunch asparagus, ends snapped off
- 1 bunch fresh spinach (about 20 largish leaves), stems trimmed (optional)
- 4 tablespoons butter, melted
- 1 pound phyllo, thawed according to package directions
- 1 3/4 cups grated Gruyere
- 3 large eggs, lightly beaten
- 1 cup heavy cream
- 1/4 to 1/2 teaspoon freshly grated nutmeg
- Sea salt and freshly ground black pepper
- 1. Preheat the oven to 350°F (176°C).
- 2. Bring a pot of water to a boil. Have a bowl of ice water ready. Plunge the spears into the water for just a moment to blanch it, then remove it and toss it into the ice water. Do the same with the spinach, if using.
- 3. Meanwhile, brush a 9-inch square tart pan or a 14-inch rectangular tart pan with a little melted butter and line it with a sheet of phyllo pastry, pressing the phyllo against the side of the pan and allowing the excess to hang over the edge of the pan. Brush the top of this sheet with more butter and top it with another sheet of phyllo. Repeat until all the phyllo is used. Trim the edges of the phyllo flush with the top of the tart pan.
- 4. Drain the asparagus and the spinach, if using, and pat them completely dry.
If using spinach: Arrange a layer of spinach on the phyllo. Sprinkle lightly with salt and pepper. Add the Gruyère, a second layer of spinach, and season again. Beat the eggs, cream, and nutmeg in a pitcher or bowl, then pour the mixture over the tart. Arrange the spears in a row on the tart. Brush the exposed pastry edges with a little butter. Cut a piece of parchment or foil that covers the inside of the asparagus tart but leaves the phyllo edge uncovered.
If not using spinach: Sprinkle the Gruyère over the phyllo. Beat the eggs, cream, and nutmeg in a pitcher or bowl, then pour the mixture over the tart. Arrange the spears in a row on the tart. Sprinkle lightly with salt and pepper. Brush the exposed pastry edges with a little butter. Cut a piece of parchment or foil that covers the inside of the asparagus tart but leaves the phyllo edge uncovered.
- 5. Bake the asparagus tart, uncovered, for 15 minutes. Cover the center but not the edge of the pastry with the parchment or foil and continue to bake until the center of the tart is just set, 15 to 20 minutes more. Let the asparagus tart rest a few minutes before slicing.
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Asparagus Tart Recipe © 2000 Alastair Hendy. Photo © 2000 David Loftus. All rights reserved.