Have you ever needed something to make for guests, but you weren’t sure what exactly? You just needed it to be quick, easy and tasty? Guess what? You don’t have to go to the ready-made freezer section this time. Not completely. You can has Fancy Party/Guest Food and you can has the credit. ALL the credit. High five.
Gruyere cheese is some of the loveliest, most terrific melting cheese you will ever use. The flavor is phenomenal, which is probably why there’s so few ingredients in this tart. You don’t need a lot of different flavor additives when you’ve got Gruyere; it’s that good. It is, however, a tad pricey. The original recipe recs Fontina cheese as a substitute and it is a little better price-wise and is also a great melting cheese. I’d say it’s flavor is more mild, though, not as strong as Gruyere, which is nutty, a little salty and slightly like Swiss, but only just slightly.
Other than the ingredients numbering few, the other great convenience to this recipe is ready-made puff pastry from your freezer section. I’ve watched shows and videos of puff pastry being made from scratch.
I can pretty much promise you this will never happen at Full Fork Ahead. Not unless we suddenly get some large, professional-grade kitchen or something. From what I’ve seen, one needs a lot of room. And skill. And time.
Anyway, thaw your frozen dough and roll it out, finishing up by torturing it with a knife and a fork.
The tart shell is baked a little first. And I gotta talk about puff pastry for a sec here. Above, and it’s faint, but there, we scored the pastry an inch into it lightly with a sharp knife. We weren’t sure, but we assumed this was to give the tart that outer “rim” that would then house the cheese and asparagus. The whole think baked into one big puff, though, so we lightly pressed down on the “inisde” of the pastry with a spatula until there was enough of an indentation to work.
Are you getting the point yet? Puff pastry is a mystery to us! Anyway, it worked out in the end.
We salute you, asparagus! For you are little spears of powerfully green goodness. AMEN.
Lay them on top of the shredded Gruyere, alternating the ends as shown.
Brush the spears with a little olive oil, then give ‘em a generous sprinkling of salt and pepper.
A little Full Fork Ahead fact: Sis blogging partner always tells me when it’s enough salt if we’re doing it to taste. Always. *giggle*
Shazam! It’s baked!
It smells good enough to shove people aside to get to. And look, it got its rim in the second baking! We are SO proud of you, Mysterious Puff Pastry!
Shazam! It’s cut! Almost there now.
Oh man. Please do not get between me and this tart. I care about your safety, see.
It’s delicate because of the puff pastry – the stuff will flake away easily at the edges of the tart – but when you get a bite of the buttery tart, the soft cheese and the still-slightly-crunchy asparagus…bliss. Can you imagine that all this thing needed was a little salt and pepper to finish it off? Serve it up to guests and just feel great that you made something this tasty with little effort and a few ingredients. Good job. Now let’s eat.
Asparagus and Gruyere Tart
from Everyday Food, March/April 2003
Prep Time: 15 minutes Cook Time: About 45 minutes Level: Easy Serves: 4
- Flour, for work surface
- 1 sheet frozen puff pastry
- 5 1/2 ounces (2 cups) Gruyere cheese, shredded
- 1 1/2 pounds medium or thick asparagus
- 1 tablespoon olive oil
- Salt and pepper
Preheat oven to 400 degrees. On a floured surface, roll the puff pastry into a 16-by-10-inch rectangle. Trim uneven edges. Place pastry on a baking sheet. With a sharp knife, lightly score pastry dough 1 inch in from the edges to mark a rectangle. Using a fork, pierce dough inside the markings at 1/2-inch intervals. Bake until golden, about 15 minutes.
Remove pastry shell from oven, and sprinkle with Gruyere. Trim the bottoms of the asparagus spears to fit crosswise inside the tart shell; arrange in a single layer over Gruyere, alternating ends and tips. Brush with oil, and season with salt and pepper. Bake until spears are tender, 20 to 25 minutes.
When we rolled out the puff pastry, it was so thin it was almost like trying to pick up a billowing sheet of delicate material. Just work with it as carefully as possible and don’t worry if it doesn’t form into a nice, even rectangle. A little misshapen-ness just makes it look a little rustic. Or so we say. Wink.
As said above, Fontina is a good substitute for the Gruyere cheese, as is Emmentaler.