Trying to get back on track here at the UC ranch, but truthfully Readers, I still haven’t been cooking all that much. It’s a darn good thing I made this delicious tart featuring asparagus and my favorite chèvre from Cypress Grove last spring and never got around to posting while the asparagus was in season. It seemed stupid to post it in the dead of winter, so I kept it on the shelf, waiting, waiting…until it was asparagus season again.
I just bought a big load of asparagus too, so this might soon be on the menu here. It’s so good as an easy dinner…but it feels kind of like a treat.
Easy because you use prepared frozen puff pastry (though if you’re ambitious you can make your own) and a treat because, well, a tart seems like a treat to me. Also because it gave me the excuse to use a block of Purple Haze Chèvre in it. It has lavender and wild fennel pollen in it and I am just crazy about the stuff.
Easy also because you just blitz the custard ingredients together in the blender–no whisking necessary. This also helps incorporate the cheese into the mix.
Then just simply crisp the bacon, sauté the shallot in the bacon fat and add asparagus and let it cook a few minutes. Don’t cook it long because obviously it’s going into the oven for a while. Overcooked asparagus is just wrong. And slimy. And stringy.
I’ve added an option to the recipe to make this without bacon too, so not to worry, my vegetarian friends.
So if you want to be fancy, pull out the tips of the asparagus and set them aside. Dump the rest of the stuff into the tart shell, then arrange the tips on top in a pleasing and decorative manner.
Pour the egg mixture around everything so there’s an even layer.
This will be cooked on a heated baking sheet in the oven, so you don’t have to worry about leakage. Who wants to clean up the bottom of their oven? Not me.
We had this lovely thing for dinner with a salad, but it would be equally lovely as a brunch dish with some potatoes and fruit. Another thing, if you haven’t tried the Cypress Grove line of chèvre yet, I recommend you do so. Great on a baguette, on salad, on a fork, whatever. There are a lot of different flavor combinations, as well as just a plain goat cheese. The most popular is probably the Humboldt Fog. It’s a soft aged goat cheese with a line of ash down the center. Yes, ash, don’t worry about it. It’s vegetable ash, whatever that is. It’s amazingly delicious. They consistently win lots of awards at the California State Fair. (By the way, Cypress Grove has no idea who I am and this is not a sponsored post. I truly love the stuff.)
This recipe was loosely based on one from my giant collection of Gourmet magazines, which I refuse to throw away. You can find the original recipe at Epicurious.