Original recipe from Food Network Magazine
Easily one of our favorite spring recipes, this tart is a delightful combo of flaky puff pastry, eggy cheese spread, and bright green asparagus that goes great as a side or an appetizer. It can be served hot or at room temp, and is a vegetable side basically masquerading as pizza.
We often have it at Easter since asparagus is just coming into season, and is on sale at most markets (or popping up in the garden).
The best is when it gets nice and brown on top like the one pictured below. Just don't forget to sprinkle with grated lemon zest after it comes out of the oven! It's one of the best parts.
1 bunch of asparagus, trimmed
2 tsp EVOO
1 sheet of frozen puff pastry, thawed
AP Flour for dusting
3oz grated Fontina cheese (about 1 cup)
3oz grated Gruyere* (about 1 cup)
1 TBSP minced shallot
2 large egg yolks
3 TBSP whole milk
1/8 tsp nutmeg
Salt and Pepper
1/2 tsp grated lemon zest
*If you can't find Gruyere or Fontina, Comte cheese will work, but Emmental, Swiss or Gouda would probably be delicious too! You're looking for a cheese with a little funk.
* Start by thawing your puff pastry on the counter for at least 15-20 minutes so it is soft and pliable when it comes time to roll it out.
Prep your asparagus. Rinse the bunch and snap the ends. Fill a large bowl with cold water and add ice. Bring about an inch of water to a boil in a large skillet. Add the asparagus and cook for about 3-5 minutes. It will be bright green, and crisp yet tender. Drain and transfer to the ice bath to stop the cooking process. Remove and pat dry. Drizzle with olive oil, salt and pepper. Toss to coat.
Preheat your oven to 400° F and prep your puff pastry. Lightly flour a surface and roll out the dough into a 10x16 rectangle. Transfer to a parchment-lined baking sheet (no stress if you are out of parchment, it really just makes for an easier cleanup. Foil will work, or a silicone baking mat.) Take a fork and prick the surface all over. If you don't it will puff up A LOT and not be the flat canvas you are looking for so don't skip this step. Bake for about 10-12 minutes until it is lightly golden. Let cool while you prepare your cheesy, eggy goodness.
Make your cheese mix. Add the shallots, milk, eggs, nutmeg, and some salt and pepper to the 2 cups of shredded cheese. Mix until well blended. Cover the puff pastry leaving less than an inch border on all sides.
Arrange the asparagus attractively over the surface and bake for 15-20 minutes. Remove when the cheese begins to brown and looks slightly puffy. Sprinkle with freshly grated lemon zest and serve!
Side note: I personally prefer thinner asparagus stalks for this recipe. They tend to cook faster, look nicer splayed across the top, and give way in a nice clean bite. Often I like to add a little crushed red pepper to bring some heat. On occasion, we've added the full eggs (to reduce waste) and it produces a fluffier more quiche-like base. Don't be afraid to experiment a little. Cooking (and eating) is supposed to be fun after all.