In the foodie world asparagus and spring are nearly synonymous. Rightly so, as the verdant stalks greet us in early in the season, spears ablaze in color. So drained of color are we, surrounded by the white and cold and barren earth, there is beauty to be found in serving asparagus aplenty. Wrapped in prosciutto, slipped into soup, charred on the grill alongside a lamp chop, asparagus is the most ubiquitous vegetable this season. So why feature it in a Radical Cooks post? Like a fine wine, it’s the pairing that counts. And the pairing here is what makes for the move of asparagus from ubiquitous to unique.
Yesterday, while hosting a Tasteful Tea Party for a group of six highly intelligent and sophisticated young 10-year-olds we were left to wonder what to serve the "parents-in-waiting." While the children sipped their chamomile tea and scarfed down scones we featured the following tart. It takes a turn for the radical when using fresh spring garlic alongside the asparagus.
In lieu of a traditional crust we used phyllo dough, making for a more Mediterranean fare. Try it today before spring, and the garlic, disappears. And for more recipes using spring garlic see our Spring Garlic Spinach Soup .
Spring Garlic & Asparagus Tart
1 pound phyllo dough
1/3 cup butter, melted
1 stalk & bulb of green (or spring) garlic (found in select farmer’s markets in springtime), sliced in ringlets
1 pound asparagus spears, ends trimmed
10 oz package of goat cheese
¾ cup of cream
¼ cup of milk
Salt and pepper to taste
Zest of lemon (approximately one teaspoon)
Preheat oven to 400 degrees F.
Fill a large bowl with ice water. Bring about 1 inch of water to a boil in a large skillet. Add the asparagus; cook until bright green and crisp-tender, 2-5 minutes, depending upon the thickness of the asparagus. Drain and transfer to the ice water to stop the cooking, drain and pat dry.
Saute sliced garlic in small skillet with small pat of butter. Sautee enough to have some rings crispy and browned.
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. Gently roll the edges of the phyllo under inward toward the middle of the tart forming a crust.
Sprinkle the goat cheese over the phyllo crust. Arrange the asparagus spears in a row evenly atop the goat cheese. Sprinkle the green garlic slices over the cheese and asparagus. With hand or spoon press the vegetables down into the cheese to flatten.
Beat the eggs and cream and milk in a bowl and pour the mixture over the tart. Sprinkle lightly with salt and pepper. Brush the exposed pastry edges with a little butter. Sprinkle with lemon zest.
Place tart in oven and bake for 15 to 20 minutes or until toothpick comes out clean when inserted in the middle of the tart. Remove tart from oven. Serve warm or at room temperature.