I love watching the price of asparagus drop as spring grows near. The bundles that you find in your local grocery store start containing thin, tender stalks of asparagus, rather than the thick, woody variety that seems prevalent in the winter months.
A tart is the perfect way to showcase a beautiful bunch of asparagus. Each bright green stalk is on display in all it’s glory. Hmph. It appears that asparagus makes me wax poetic. This all seems to be coming out a bit sappy. But I think this vegetable deserves it.
This pretty tart starts with a crisp, flaky, golden puff pastry crust. It’s filled with rows of asparagus, mushrooms glazed with balsamic, fluffy egg and goat cheese to bind it all together, and then studded with crumbles of more goats cheese.
Because the puff pastry is pre-made, this dish comes together rather quickly for an easy, gourmet, vegetarian meal. It would make a great appetizer as well, cut into smaller pieces.
- 1 sheet frozen Puff Pastry, thawed and unfolded
- ½ bunch Asparagus, woody ends trimmed(about 15-20 spears)
- 1 T. Olive Oil
- 8 oz. small Mushrooms, quartered
- ½ t. Thyme
- ¼ t. Pepper, coarse ground
- ½ t. Coarse Salt
- 1 t. Brown Sugar, packed
- ¼ C. Balsamic Vinegar
- 2½ oz. Goats Cheese, softened
- 2 Eggs
- ½ t. Salt
- 1 oz. Goats Cheese, crumbled
- 1 T. Milk
- 1 Egg Yolk
- Pre-heat the oven to 400 degrees. Line a baking sheet with parchment paper.
- Lay the sheet of thawed puff pastry out on a floured surface. Roll the pastry out into a rectangle that is just a little smaller than your baking sheet.
- Place the puff pastry rectangle on the parchment lined baking sheet.
- Fold about ½" of the edge(all the way around the rectangle) over and press into the dough to seal to make a small crust. Poke the pastry with the tines of a fork several times(avoid poking the crust).
- Heat the olive oil in a saute pan. Add the mushrooms and saute on medium/high heat for about 5 minutes. They should be turning slightly golden brown. Add the pepper, coarse salt, and thyme to the mushrooms and saute for 1 minute more. Add the brown sugar and balsamic vinegar. The mixture will bubble and froth. Let cook for about 30 seconds and remove from the heat immediately. The vinegar should have reduced until it just coats the mushrooms. Set aside.
- In a small bowl, mix together the 2 eggs, 1.2 t. salt, and 2½ oz. of softened goats cheese together until smooth. It doesn't have to be perfectly lump-free.
- Pour the egg mixture onto the puff pastry crust. Spread all the way to the edges.
- Place the asparagus spears in an even row across the top of the egg mixture.
- Spoon the mushrooms over the asparagus, evenly distributing. Pour any remaining vinegar over the tart as well.
- Sprinkle the goat cheese crumbles evenly over the tart.
- In a small bowl, whisk together the egg yolk and milk with a fork.
- Using a pastry brush the crust of the puff pastry with the egg mixture.
- Bake the tart on the top rack of the pre-heated oven for about 15 minutes, or until crust is golden.
- Remove and slice with a knife or pizza cutter.