asparagus gruyere tart

May 8, 2012 § Leave a comment

while we’re a few weeks early for spargelfest (http://blackforestinnmpls.com/pgs/spargelfest.php), a little warm-up never hurt anyone, particularly when it comes to those delicious little green spears. besides, whether or not the local sprouts have begun to peek through the earth, the grocery store is fairly overrun with stalks from somewhere, organic and otherwise.

and so, in the name of dutiful and thorough spargelfest preparation, i ask you to make with the learning:
1. since at least the 1400s, asparagus has been viewed as an aphrodisiac. likely to that end, our dear friend louis xiv routinely had the points d’amour (“love tips”) from the stalks served to his chief mistress.
2. it is considered to be both a diuretic AND a laxative. oh, happy day!
3. and while we’re on the subject, of the shoots, proust noted that it “…transforms my chamber-pot into a flask of perfume.” or something.

and now, let’s talk about cooking! *cough*.

so, last night’s meal was nothing if not asparagus-centered. garlic shrimp served atop a bed of asparagus and pepper and, um, this delightful (and delightfully easy; pretty, etc) little tart, pulled from the recipe from the folks over at martha stewart. (the original can be found here: http://tinyurl.com/6takoyc).

though the folks at MS opted for puff pastry (which would, undoubtedly be delicious and a bit more savory), i was feeling a bit lazy last night , and rather than waiting for the puff pastry to thaw, I instead opted for a roll of pillsbury crescent rolls.  i mean, if nothing else, the package is really fun to open.  but remember, as six year old you will happily remind you, that is a particularly sweet dough. i’m not sure i would use the pillsbury dough again for dinner, but my goodness what lovely brunch fare it would make.

anyway, the stuff:
1. a bunch of asparagus (i would go small to medium, depending on your dough. if you opt for the crescent roll dough, you’ll only have about 20-25 minutes to make sure the little guys are cooked through, so i’d be thinking about reduced size.
2. Gruyere cheese. the MS recipe calls for 5.5 oz. Clearly it depends on how much dough you’re aiming to cover
3. dough. so either a frozen puff pastry sheet (more savory), crescent rolls (i’d avoid weird fake butter flavors, as the almost cloying sweetness of the crescent rolls is quite enough, thank you), or you can call up the lovely and talented lady over at http://butterandflour.com/ who undoubtedly has a real grown-up recipe that would blow everything else out of the water.
4. olive oil for brushing
5. salt and pepper

the how-to:

1. prepare your dough per the directions and preheat oven. i don’t know what you’re using, so i don’t know how hot it should be. sorry. toss the dough into the oven on its own until it puffs up just a bit. if you’re using the pillsbury, this will take less than a minute.
2. remove dough from oven and sprinkle with a generous amount of Gruyere, leaving at least a 1/2 inch boarder. alternating stems to tips, line up your asparagus, which you have either trimmed evenly (MS style!) or left as they came* (rustic!)
3. brush the asparagus with olive oil and s & p to taste.
4. return to the oven and finish baking per your dough instructions.

5. remove from oven, cut, shove in face and then think to yourself “that was stupidly easy, and stupidly delicious.”

*By that I mean, as they came after you held them in your hands and snapped them off at their natural snapping point, discarding the woody bottoms.  I’m sure that you all already know how to do this, but in the event someone doesn’t, i do promise it is the best way to separate the wheat from the chaff or, um, the crunchy green spears from the purplish, fiberous, woody base stalks.

ps- i SWEAR i took my own picture last night. which will replace the one featured here this evening when i am reunited with the trusty canon.

le version rustico:

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