Asparagus and Goat Cheese Tart

Overhead view of rectangular tart filled with asparagus, purple olives and cheese, on a baking tray sitting on a black counter with a wedge of cheese and glass of rosé on either side.

An easy tart makes every party more fun.

by Erin Henderson

This is one of my favourite recipes for truly easy, elegant entertaining.

Not only can this tart be assembled in advance and baked off when guests arrive, it’s flexible enough to serve at brunch with a simple green salad, or as a snack for apéro. It also makes a satisfying dinner that’s faster (and cheaper! And healthier!) than take out.

A quick note on puff pastry. It’s very easy to work with, but can get soggy if you’re not careful, so let’s just trouble shoot some potential problems before they come about.

  1. Thaw it in the fridge and keep it cold. Puff pastry is made by alterntaing butter between thin sheet of pastry and if it warms too much before going in the oven it will just steam and get soggy. Once your roll it out, you may want to let in rest on the sheet pan, in the fridge, for 10 minutes to chill it back down.
  2. Give the crust an egg wash and blind bake it before adding the filling. The egg wash will not only make the border look brown and toasty and pretty, but will create a barrier between the filling and the crust to prevent the dough from getting soggy.
  3. Cook at high temps for short amounts of time on the lowest rack. Puff pasty is happiest at high heat.

The overheard view of an asparagus tart on a wood board

Asparagus and Goat Cheese Tart

This is a very flexible tart that can work with any seasonal produce. As summer progresses try this with roasted peppers and zucchini. In the fall try butternut squash and blue cheese or wild mushrooms and thyme.  

Serves: 4
Chef level: easy

Ingredients:
  • 1 cup (approx 6-8 spears) asparagus peeled and cut into ½ inch pieces 
  • ½ cup shallot, diced fine 
  • 2-3 tablespoons pitted and sliced Kalamata olives
  • 2 tablespoons capers
  • Zest of one lemon
  • Ground pepper, to taste
  • Salt to taste
  • 1 Tbsp olive oil
  • 140 g goat cheese, softened 
  • 150 g ricotta, drained
  • 1 sheet frozen puff pastry, thawed 
  • 1 egg, beaten
  • 1 oz parmesan
How to Make It: 
  1. Thaw your puff pastry according to the package directions.
  2. Preheat the oven to 420°F
  3. Spread a good handful of flour over your counter or large cutting board and lay out the puff pastry.
  4. Spread more flour over the pastry and roll into about a 10-inch-wide rectangle.
  5. Carefully move the puff pastry to a parchment lined baking sheet.
  6. Flip the edges of the pastry over, sealing with a bit of water, to create a border.
  7. (If the pastry is getting warm and too soft, place the tray in the fridge for 5 or 10 minutes to firm up.)
  8. Lightly poke the interior of the pastry a few times with a fork to create steam holes.
  9. Beat an egg and brush over the entire surface.
  10. Place the tray in the hot oven and pre-bake for about 6 minutes until slightly golden. The centre may still puff up a bit, simply light pat it down with your fingers when it comes out of the oven. No big deal.
  11. Meanwhile, mix the softened goat cheese, drained ricotta, a couple cranks of black pepper, and a pinch of salt.
  12. In another bowl, mix the asparagus through lemon zest and stir in the olive oil. Check for seasoning and add in more S+P if needed.
  13. Using a spatula or your hands (I find my hands easier), gently spread the goat cheese mixture evenly over the surface, avoiding the folded border.
  14. Sprinkle the asparagus mixture over the cheese.
  15. Place on the bottom rack, and bake for another 10 minutes, until golden and the edges are slightly puffy.
  16. Turn on the broiler and broil for 2-4 minutes until the pastry is dark in spots (not burnt!) and the filling has a bit of light char colour. (Keep a close eye on this; don’t open the oven but keep the light on and look in every 30 seconds or so to monitor how fast it’s cooking.)
  17. Shave Parmesan over the hot tart, allow to cool for 5 minutes before cutting, then serve hot or at room temperature.
Wine Pairing:

I often pair this to a refreshing Pecorino, a salinity-laced Italian white wine grown in the hillside vineyards in Abruzzo, Marche, Umbria, and Liguria. While Pecorino is gaining in popularity amongst wine enthusiasts, it's still largely unknown in the broader market place so it can be tough to find. If you can't get a quality Pecorino where you are, Sauvignon Blanc, with its high acid and verdant flavours, is always a winner.

 

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