Jeanette - Off The Cuff

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Blogger at: http://offthecuffhome.blogspot.com and http://offthecuffcooking.blogspot.com -- My name is Jeanette, and I was born in Sweden, but unlike the famous Muppet, I am not a professional Swedish Chef. I actually studied design and photography. I also was a freelance indie-rock critic for several magazines from 1998-2005, and had an in-house PR company for a while. Cooking is in my DNA--my dad's brother was a chef and their father was a pastry chef, my mom's mother was a caterer, who published a cookbook of traditional Finnish breads and pastries when she was 92. Everyone else in my family loves to cook, and we're not afraid to experiment. I have a yen for interior design and remodeling.

Tuesday, January 10, 2017

Asparagus and Cheese Tart

Howdy, howdy everyone! It's been a few moons, but today I'm letting you enjoy this savory treat, courtesy of a friend of mine, Julia, who recently posted a photo of this delicious looking asparagus tart that she had found on FoodNetwork.com, and was kind enough to share it with me. So here below the jump-break is her blog post. Welcome to Off The Cuff Cooking, Julia!





Asparagus and Cheese Tart from FoodNetwork.com
blogged by Julia Engledowl for Off The Cuff Cooking

As we ring in the New Year and many of us are putting our best foot forward towards positive
health changes, I want to share my favorite “diet” tip: add, add, add!

It’s human nature to dislike the feeling or thought of being deprived. How many times do we
crave that forbidden cake so much more just because we’ve decided to cut out sweets? Instead
of telling ourselves everything we shouldn’t have and taking everything away, it’s helpful to add
in the good stuff until we mostly crave only the good stuff! Think adding fresh cut peppers to
frozen pizza or banana slices to cereal-- you get the picture.

So, in an effort to add vegetables back into my diet after major veggie aversion during
pregnancy, I was on the search for yummy foods to slap some vegetables on until I could
tolerate them raw and plain again. Enter: cheesy, warm tart topped with nutritious asparagus.
Pair this tart with a homemade soup and you’ve got a nourishing meal that’s sure to make your
soul and tummy happy on a winter evening.
And, there’s even more to love about this recipe because... If you’ve ever been excited to try a recipe but short on time to execute all the steps, then you’ll love how this asparagus tart has a “fancy” version and a “everyday” version.  The “Everyday” version looks like this:
Puff pastry + Cheese + Cooked Asparagus= Delicious Tart
You can basically cook asparagus any way you’d like (or use leftover asparagus from last
night’s dinner) and slap it on some puff pastry with nearly any type of cheese and have an
asparagus tart in a pinch.

However, there are definitely some ways to amp up the flavor and presentation of an asparagus tart. Hence, the “fancy” version. Food Network’s recipe for Asparagus and Cheese Tart  was the inspiration for my asparagus tart. My version involves cooking the asparagus in the oven rather than boiling it and free-styling the cheese rather than having hard-and-fast rules about cheese type.

Before getting into the “fancy” version, I want to talk cheese (one of my favorite topics and
foods.) My favorite cheeses for this tart are fontina and havarti, though so many cheeses can be
used. The best cheeses for this tart are milder, white cheeses. Once, in a pinch, I supplemented
my havarti with mozzarella since I didn’t have enough havarti for the whole recipe. Shredding
your own cheese instead of using pre-shredded will improve the texture and taste of your tart.
Another essential part of this tart, which I do not recommended skipping, is lemon zest. The
brightness it brings to the tart is part of the “wow” factor in every bite.

For easy serving, cut the tart with a pizza cutter. If you attempt to eat this tart alone (guilty…)
and inevitably have leftovers, then you can enjoy them later by heating them up in the oven on a
cookie sheet at 350F until the cheese is melty again.

Lastly, I like how this tart is a great treat to share with guests or take a family who is welcoming
a new child, grieving a lost relative, or just in need of some extra love. It’s warm, comforting,
healthy, and has a beautiful presentation.

Without further ado, here is the “fancy” asparagus cheese tart recipe!

INGREDIENTS:

1 pound asparagus
1 sheet frozen puff pastry (about 1/2 pound), thawed
All-purpose flour, for dusting
2 cups cheese (fontina, havarti, gruyere, etc)
Minced garlic for asparagus
2 large egg yolks
3 tablespoons whole milk
1/8 teaspoon freshly grated nutmeg
Kosher salt and freshly ground pepper
1/2 teaspoon finely grated lemon zest

DIRECTIONS: 

1. Place puff pastry on floured surface to come to room temperature.
2. Heat oven to 425F. While oven is preheating, chop hard ends off asparagus, wash well,
then coat lightly in olive oil, minced garlic, salt, and pepper. Line cookie sheet with foil (if
using) and arrange asparagus single layer. Cook asparagus in oven 12-17 minutes until
desired firmness is achieved.
3. While asparagus is cooking, zest lemon and set zest aside for later. After zesting lemon,
juice the lemon and remove seeds from juice. When asparagus is done, splash
asparagus with fresh lemon juice and save the rest for another recipe/use.
4. On a floured surface roll puff pastry to 10x16. If you don’t have a rolling pin, sprinkle
some flour on a round drinking glass and roll the pastry out.
5. Place pastry on wax or parchment paper on a cookie sheet and poke in several places
with a fork.
6. After asparagus is done, bring oven temp down to 400F. Place puff pastry in oven for
10-12 minutes until golden but not super crisp.
7. While puff pastry is cooking, add cheese, egg yolk, milk, nutmeg, salt, and pepper in a
bowl and mix together well.
8. When puff pastry is finished, pull from oven. Top with cheese mixture leaving a border
on the tart without cheese. After cheese mixture is on the tart, top single layer with
asparagus.
9. Bake tart 17 minutes to finish. When tart is done, sprinkle with lemon zest, cut with a
pizza cutter, and enjoy!



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