Here we are again in asparagus season, and we are eating a lot of these delicious green stalks, mostly pan fried, sometimes poached or in a risotto …. and now and again when I want something a little more fancy, and more filling, I use the asparagus in a savoury tart.
I thought you may like to try my favourite asparagus tart recipe, not only is it delicious, it is also super quick and easy! I have tried various versions, with and without cream, with and without ricotta, but in the end I think it works best with a classic quiche mix of eggs and double cream.
The famous French chef, Monsieur Paul Bocuse explains very clearly the importance of egg yolks and egg whites in a cream or sauce .. it’s the whites that give the firmness and the yolks that add the creaminess. With this in mind, and for a 10″ tart for about 6 people, I use 5 large eggs and a pot of double cream. If I’m feeling the need for a little more tenderness I may throw in another egg yolk and not tell anyone.
I have tried pan frying the asparagus for the quiche, but the caramelised juices colour the cream and the taste isn’t quite right. I now prefer to trim the asparagus then steam for a few minutes, making sure the stalks are not too wet for the pastry base.
I pre-bake the pastry crust (I prefer short pastry for this recipe) then cut the steamed asparagus into shorter lengths and tumble them evenly across the base. In a bowl I mix the double cream, the eggs, salt and pepper and a few chopped chive leaves. I also like to add a little grated cheese, Parmesan works well, Conté isn’t bad and Gruyère is probably ideal for this one. I’ve also tried grating some lemon rind into the mixture, which is good but not vital.
The quantities are listed below …. and if you are wondering why you only get the pictures of the ingredients here, its because both times I made this tart so far this year, it disappeared before I had time to reach for the camera!
Ingredients for the asparagus and cheese tart:
I portion of your favourite short pastry (pie crust)
300g or 10 oz green asparagus
350ml or 1.5 cups double cream (heavy cream)
salt, pepper, chives
Bake at 180C (350F/gas mark 4) for about 35 minutes, or until a knife comes out clean but the tart still moves a little