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Asparagus Tart

A whole asparagus tart on a piece of parchment paper.
This asparagus tart, made with phyllo and cheese, is a stunning (and surprisingly simple) testament to spring.
Alastair Hendy

Prep 20 mins
Cook 40 mins
Total 1 hr
Entrees
American
4 servings
1040 kcal

Ingredients 

  • 1 bunch asparagus* ends snapped off
  • 1 bunch fresh spinach (about 20 largish leaves), stems trimmed (optional)
  • 4 tablespoons (2 oz) 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
  • Parmesan cheese grated (optional)

Directions 

  • Preheat the oven to 350°F (176°C).
  • Bring a pot of water to a boil. Have a bowl of ice water ready. Plunge the spears into the water just until very bright green to blanch them and then, using tongs or a slotted spoon, let them slide into the ice water. Do the same with the spinach, if using.
  • Meanwhile, brush a 9-by-13-inch baking 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, tucking the phyllo into the corners of the pan and up the sides.
  • Drain the asparagus spears and 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.
  • Bake the asparagus tart, uncovered, for 15 minutes. Cover the center of the tart 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. Garnish with grated Parmesan, if using. Slice and serve.

Notes

*What kind of asparagus is best for this recipe?

Thin, spring asparagus might have been specially made for the tart treatment. The long slender spears look stunning when in alignment. You'll need to look for slender spears that aren't much wider at the bottom of the stalk compared to the top to ensure even cooking. The big fat stalks that you find later in the season will work just fine, too, but you may need to give them a little extra time when blanching.