A few weeks ago, as I was lugging home groceries, I saw this sign: I’m not only thinking spring, I’m hoping and praying spring. And for this bar (which is outdoor only) to reopen. To help spring along (and to continue my quest to empty our refrigerator), I bought the spring-iest vegetable I know and turned it into a tart, inspired by my girl Martha.
Asparagus Ricotta Parmesan Tart
1 premade puff pastry, thawed
about 1/3 cup ricotta cheese (full fat works best)
about 1/2 cup Parmesan cheese
about 1/4 red onion, thinly sliced
1 bunch asparagus, washed and trimmed
salt, pepper & crushed reds
olive oil (bonus if you can use an olive oil mister!)
Preheat your oven to 400 degrees F. On a lightly floured surface, stretch & roll the puff pastry out a bit – be careful not to break it. Using a sharp knife, lightly score the pastry dough about 1 inch out from the edge, all the way around. Using a fork, lightly poke holes all over the dough and place on a large baking sheet. Bake the dough until golden – about 10 minutes.
Remove the pastry shell and dot all over with ricotta cheese; lightly spread it about. Top with a big handful of Parmesan, the sliced onion, and then line the asparagus across – alternating spear to tip. Top with salt, pepper and some crushed reds. Mist or brush some olive oil over the tart. Pop the whole thing in the oven and bake for about 10-15 minutes.
If you’d like to increase the decadence, this would be delicious topped with a little truffle oil or a fried egg…
Think spring, hard.
This is such an easy meal and can be adapted so many ways, with so many different vegetables (and/or meats, if you like)- mushrooms and goat cheese? Corn and roasted tomato? Butternut squash and gruyere? The possibilities are endless. I will say – this is a meal that’s better for two, with some leftovers. Or for four not-hungry people. But who knows any of those? (Def not those ladies/gents over at Fiesta Friday.)
Last week, I had epic plans to make Ottolenghi’s Very Full Tart.
Which I did, sort of. There were (obviously, because why can’t I just follow a recipe, why why why) some tweaks. (I guess because when recipes call for things like zucchini, which I hate, you know there have to be some adjustments…& one adjustment, leads to another, and another…)
Very Veggie Not-Quite-Tart
1 red or yellow bell pepper
salt & pepper
1 smallish eggplant, diced
1 small sweet potato, peeled and diced
1 large onion, thinly sliced (or 2 medium onions)
2-3 dried bay leaves
about 1/2 cup panko bread crumbs
leaves from about 10 fresh thyme sprigs
1/3 cup ricotta (full fat works best)
about 4 oz goat cheese, crumbled
a handful cherry tomatoes, halved
about a cup heavy cream or milk
Preheat the oven to 450 degrees F. Remove the stem and seeds from the bell pepper, place in ovenproof dish, drizzle a bit of olive oil over it and stick in the oven.
Toss the diced eggplant with olive oil, salt, pepper, and a little bit of crushed reds on a large baking dish; stick in the oven for about 10-12 minutes.
Add the sweet potato to the eggplant pan and roast another 20 minutes. In a large saute pan, heat some olive oil and saute the onions with bay leaves and a pinch of salt for about 25 minutes, stirring occasionally.
Remove all the vegetables (including the pepper) from the oven. Reduce the temperature to about 325 degrees F. Cover the pepper with foil and let cool. When cool enough to handle, peel and chop into smaller slices.
Grease the bottom of a pie or tart pan. Spread out the panko bread crumbs on the bottom and halfway up the sides.
Scatter the onion over the panko, cover with roasted vegetables (eggplant, sweet potato, bell pepper), and top with about half the thyme leaves. Dot the veggies with both types of cheeses. Scatter the halved tomatoes about the top.
Whisk the eggs and cream in a small bowl with salt, pepper and some crushed red peppers. Carefully pour the mix over the veggies and top with the remaining thyme leaves.
Bake the tart for about 40 minutes or until the filling sets. Admire your handiwork and serve with a small salad, (topped with any roasted vegetables that didn’t fit into your tart).
This came out deliciously, and was great for a number of tasty, subsequent lunches. However, it won’t become a staple around here anytime soon, given that it took 2+ hours to make. This is more of a snow day kind of meal. Which, speaking of, where IS my snow day?!