Wednesday, March 31, 2021

Asparagus Tart For Spring

One of my favorite early spring foods is asparagus. Those bright green spears not only taste delicious, but their green color welcomes the season. Right now where we live they are also fairly inexpensive. If that is true for you, too, then you might want to make this tart for a meal, even for Easter. The only part that takes any real time is caramelizing the onion. The rest is quick and easy if you use store-bought puff pastry.

We had our tart for dinner along with some lamb chops that our neighbor gifted us with. Both of those foods are spring time treats for me. Now we only need our strawberry stand on Hwy 12 to open and I'll be a happy camper.

Asparagus Tart with Caramelized Onions and Bacon

Serves 4-6    An original Elle recipe

1 large yellow onion, peeled, ends removed, halved and thinly sliced
2 tablespoons olive oil
1/3 cup ricotta cheese (I used Kite Hill almond milk ricotta)
1 medium to large egg
grated zest from half a lemon
salt and pepper to taste
1 sheet frozen puff pastry, thawed (I used Pepperidge Farm)
2 slices bacon, cooked until crisp (can be done in the microwave using scrunched paper towels above and below)
6-8 fresh asparagus stalks, washed, dried and trimmed
egg wash (1 egg combined with 1 tablespoon water)

In a large skillet caramelize the onions in the olive oil by cooking them slowly, stirring often, over medium-low heat, until the onions are golden brown or a been deeper brown. There will be leftovers for another use. Once cooked, remove from pan, spread out on a plate, and cool to room temperature.

In a small bowl, combine the ricotta cheese, egg, lemon zest and salt and pepper. Set aside.

On a baking sheet place a piece of parchment paper or foil or a Silpat silicone mat. Set aside.

Preheat the oven to 425 degrees F.

Sprinkle a clean work surface lightly with flour and spread it to a thin layer. Open the thawed puff pastry to one layer on that prepared surface. Use a sharp knife to cut a one-inch strip off the puff pastry on two facing sides. Dampen that edge in for an inch with water, then place the cut strip on top. You will have a rectangle with facing ends that have an extra layer one-inch wide and the opposite facing ends without.

Spread the ricotta cheese mixture in an even layer between the two built up ends. Using a small offset spatula works well. Leave about an inch without cheese at the un-built up ends, too. Place about 1/3 cup cooled caramelized onion on top of the cheese mixture, spreading it as evenly as possible. Crumble the bacon and sprinkle evenly over the onion. Place the asparagus in a row, starting at one of the raised ends and finishing at the other raised edge. Brush some egg wash, using a pastry brush, on top of the raised edges and at the exposed ends of the other sides, being careful to not let the egg run down the sides.

Bake in a preheated 425 degree F. oven until the pastry is golden brown. Serve warm.

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