Last Updated on by Adrienne
ASPARAGUS ALFREDO TART
Easter season is the beginning of all things spring — lighter clothing, lengthier days, the long-dormant ground softening to bring forth the first tender shoots of asparagus, ramps, sweet green peas, and other tastes that are forever linked to the season.
Just as the Christian holiday signals rebirth, the spring season brings renewal.
Though farm-to-table and the use of local, seasonal foods are current trends in the culinary world, they really aren’t new at all. Families traditionally have relied on what crops were ready in the field for their menus.
Fresh Vegetables – Farm to Table
The best cooks understand that there is no better quality than fresh vegetables, rinsed free of soil from their winter sleep, cooked just fork-tender and finished with a swirl of creamy butter and a sprinkle of coarse salt. No expensive pan or best-selling cookbook can improve on the easy perfection of Mother Nature.
A Kitchen Staple for Puff Pastry Recipes
This asparagus tart uses a freezer staple — puff pastry — that can transform almost anything into something special.
Puff pastry is a baking miracle – a delicate pastry that has little butter pockets carefully folded and turned into this wonderful crust that can quickly and easily be fashioned into puffed pastry pizza, appetizers or delicious desserts with none of the time-consuming prep.
A fourth or half of a sheet makes a perfect palette for a little tart. Add a little sauce or cheese, berries or sauteed, sweetened apples with raisins and cinnamon for a comforting, quick apple dessert.
Asparagus Alfredo Tart
- 1/2 Cup Butter
- 1 ½ Cups Heavy Whipping Cream
- 1 Teaspoon Garlic Minced
- ½ Teaspoon Salt
- ¼ Teaspoon Pepper
- 2 Cups Freshly Grated Parmesan Cheese
- 1 bunch (1 lb) asparagus trimmed and lightly steamed
- Preheat oven to 400 degrees.
- Open your thawed puff pastry and place it on a parchment lined sheet pan.
- Pinch the edges of the pastry to form a little "dam." Set aside.
- Trim any tough, woody ends of the asparagus.
- Lightly steam the asparagus (I do it in a plastic bag in the microwave for about a minute. Just add trimmed asparagus and about 2 Tablespoons water)
- Add ice to your "steaming" bag or hold steamed asparagus in a bowl of ice. You just want to keep the bright green color and stop the cooking process.
- ALFREDO SAUCE:
- Add the butter and cream to a large skillet.
- Simmer over low heat until the cream reduces by 1/3 to 1/2 begins thickening.
- Whisk in the garlic, salt, and pepper for one minute.
- Whisk in the parmesan cheese until melted.
- Spread the thickened alfredo sauce generously over the pastry.
- Arrange the asparagus on the sauced pastry and bake for 20 to 30 minutes, until golden brown. Remove from the oven and allow to set and cool for 3 - 5 minutes.
- Cut into wedges or squares and serve.
Working With Asparagus
Asparagus is easy to work with and only needs a little trimming and tending to stand out in your dish.
What Kind of Cheese Goes Well With Asparagus?
Several types of cheese pair well with fresh asparagus, most of them having a strong or nutty flavor like Parmesan, Parmesano Reggiano and Gruyere. This provides a great flavor contrast.
Also, fresh soft, creamy cheeses make a delicious base in dishes like this tart. Ricotta is the perfect base – but remember in a pinch you can substitute cottage cheese, just whip it with a little heavy cream to improve the spreading texture.
Do You Wash Asparagus Before Cooking? How Do You Trim Asparagus?
I was taught by my grandmother to bend the asparagus stalk slightly and it would “snap” in just the right place. Then you could use the top part as a guide to cut the other stems down.
This is more or less true, but it seems like that is a lot of waste to a delicious (and sometimes slightly expensive) vegetable.
A vegetable peeler can also be used shave off any thick outer skin to reduce waste.
Always rinse asparagus stalks before cooking in case their it a little grit left over. But you must dry them with a towel if you plan to use dry-heat cooking methods like roasting or sauteing so it doesn’t steam instead of brown.
This is a great rule of thumb for most things you cook – dry or pat dry with paper towels! Skin will be crispier, crusts will be crustier and roasted vegetables will actually be – roasted!
How Do You Keep Asparagus From Getting Soggy?
Don’t overcook it! As a general rule, steam delicate vegetables instead of boiling – all over cooked vegetables will lose their appetizing color and crunch if you boil them to death.
Why Does Eating Asparagus Make Your Pee Smell?
Just answering this here because EVERYONE ASKS.
The reason for smelly urine after eating asparagus appears to be asparagusic acid, a compound high in sulfur and abundant in asparagus. When your body digests asparagus and breaks down asparagusic acid, it releases volatile components that are responsible for the foul smell of asparagus urine.