Asparagus Goat Cheese Tart
The first local spring produce is starting to arrive at the farmers markets, and my little urban garden is finally coming to life, seems like the never-ending winter of 2015 is finally behind us.
Let's celebrate the season with a simple vegetarian tart made with grilled local asparagus in a rich goat cheese custard and sprinkled liberally flavourful herbs snipped fresh from the garden.
This recipe yields one 9 inch round tart, or a 4 x 14 inch rectangular tart.
Start by making your pastry, you'll need:
- 1 cup all purpose flour
- 2 tablespoons corn meal
- 1/4 teaspoon salt
- 6 tablespoons ice cold butter, cut into small pieces
- 1 large egg- lightly beaten
Pulse the flour, corn meal, and salt in the bowl of your food processor until combined. Add the butter and pulse a few brief spurts, until the mixture resembles a coarse meal. Add the egg and pulse 3 or 4 times, until barely combined. Turn dough out onto a lightly floured surface and knead for a few seconds, just until the dough comes together in a ball. Flatten the ball into a disk if you are using a round tart pan or an elongated oval if you are using a rectangular tart pan. Wrap in plastic wrap and refrigerate for at least an hour before proceeding.
Preheat oven to 375F.
On a lightly floured surface, roll out the pastry to a 12 inch circle if you are using a round tart pan, or a 6-16 inch rectangle for a rectangular tart pan. You don't have to be precise about these measurements, just make sure your pastry is a couple of inches bigger than your pan. Carefully transfer the pastry to the tart pan, and press it into the bottom and up the sides. Trim off any excess. I like to use my rolling pin to transfer the pastry. I lift the pastry by loosely rolling it around the rolling pin, and then I unroll the pastry over the tart pan. This helps to avoid tearing or poking holes in the pastry with your fingers as you lift it.
Use a fork to poke a few holes in the bottom of the tart shell, then line the pastry with foil. Fill the foil lined tart shell with dried beans or pie weights, and bake for 20 minutes, remove foil and pie weights, and bake for another 10 minutes until golden brown. This is called 'blind baking', it will help keep your tart shell flaky and crisp.
While the tart shell is baking, prepare your filling:
- 10-12 spears fresh asparagus
- 1 tablespoon olive oil
- 2 large eggs
- 1/4 cup sour cream
- 1/4 cup milk
- 100 grams finely grated Parmigiano Reggiano
- 100 grams soft goat cheese, crumbled
- 3 green onions, chopped
- 1 tablespoon finely chopped fresh tarragon
- Pinch of salt
- An additional 1-2 tablespoons finely chopped herbs to garnish, I used lemon thyme, chives, and tarragon.
Snap off the tough ends of the asparagus, and drizzle the spears with olive oil. Cook over medium-high heat in a grill pan or cast iron skillet for 3-4 minutes, turning frequently, until bright green and el dente. The cooking time will vary according to the the thickness of your asparagus.
In a large bowl, whisk together the eggs, sour cream, and milk. Add the Parmigiano, goat cheese, green onions, tarragon and salt, and stir to combine.
Arrange the asparagus in the bottom of the tart shell, and carefully pour the custard mixture into the shell. Bake at 375F for 25-30 minutes, until filling is set.
Just before serving, garnish the tart with some additional fresh herbs, I used lemon thyme, tarragon, and fresh chives.
This tart can either be served warm, or at room temperature.