Thursday, April 14, 2011

Spring at the Farmhouse: Asparagus, Mushroom, and Onion Tart

One of the best things by far about being back in the Northeast are the changing seasons. Seeing all the new life bloom outside my windows this Spring is making me so happy to be back home. I have this gorgeous flowering tree right outside my living room window and each day it seems to get more and more beautiful. Witherspoon street in downtown Princeton, NJ (about 6 miles from where I live) is covered in flowering trees and super cute daffodils are springing up everywhere! And then there is the food. One of my favorite vegetables is asparagus which is a shining star of the spring season. I was looking for an easy recipe and something a little different. I've been waiting to make an asparagus tart since I watched Jamie Oliver make one a couple months ago on his show Jamie at Home and now that asparagus is springing up everywhere I finally have the chance to give it a shot.

I found this recipe on epicurious but I added sauteed onions. I was hoping the onions would add a hint of sweetness but I didn't cook them long enough. Next time I am going to try cooking the onions low and slow in a pan on top of the stove. This will give them that great slow roasted sweetness which I think will be the perfect compliment to the slightly bitter asparagus. I also cut back on the amount of lemon zest and added a bit more Gruyere because well, we all know how obsessed I am with cheese! I served this as a side to a slow roasted halibut with a cheesy herby bread crumb topping which don't you worry, I'll post soon. The tart would also make really great appetizers.... maybe for Easter dinner??? Just cut the puff pastry into smaller squares, for example cut one sheet of puff pastry into 8 squares instead of 4.

Asparagus, Mushroom, and Onion Tart

1 pkg. puff pastry (2 sheets), thawed
1/4 cup unsalted butter
12 oz shitake mushrooms, stemmed and cut into 1/4 inch wide strips
1 tsp salt
1/2 tsp freshly ground black pepper
1 lb slender asparagus spears, cut on diagonal into 1 inch pieces
1 1/2 tsp fresh thyme
1 1/2 tsp finely grated lemon zest
1/2 cup creme fraiche (can be found with specialty cheeses at your grocery store)
1/2 cup grated gruyere cheese
2-4 tbsp melted butter

Roll out each pastry sheet into about 10 inch squares. Cut each into 4 squares (or 8 if making smaller for appetizers). Arrange squares on rimmed baking sheets.

Melt butter in a large heavy skillet over medium heat. Add mushrooms, sprinkle with 1/4 tsp salt and 1/4 tsp pepper. Saute until tender and lightly browned, about 4 minutes. Transfer to a large bowl and cool about 15 minutes. Add asparagus, thyme, lemon zest, 3/4 tsp salt and 1/4 tsp pepper to mushrooms. Mix in creme fraiche and cheese.

Preheat oven to 400 degrees. Mound filling atop pastry squares leaving a 1/2 inch border around center of each tart. Brush border with melted butter. Bake tarts 20-22 minutes in preheated oven until tarts are puffed and golden brown.

Recipe adapted from epicurious

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