Green spindly spears are shooting up in the shops right now. They are parceled in little packets of 20 spears or so and although once seen as a delicacy, are now, due to the availability of imports, enjoyed year round at the dinner table. Although we have a few plants ourselves, this trim tipped vegetable, mostly composed of water, is found more commonly growing in back gardens than on commercial farms. Asparagus has a short growing season and that coupled with peoples desire to buy local, keeps the price of Irish or British Asparagus at a premium—ranging in prices from €5–€15 per kilo. That said, if you are wondering whether to save or splurge on this item as it is in season right now, our advice is to splurge.
This month we have a recipes for an Asparagus cheese tart. Learning how to make a savoury tart like this one is invaluable in the kitchen because it is one of those tarts that tastes like more. Although making your own pastry is recommended, we keep a few of the pre-rolled boxes of pastry in the freezer so we can throw this tart together at the drop of a hat. The mixing of mustard and egg for the sauce mixed with the melted cheese makes for an excellent base and we find it pays perfect homage to Asparagus at this time of the year.
Asparagus Cheese Tart—makes one tart (25 cm size pie dish)
If you are wondering how to encourage the pickier members of your family to try Asparagus, then this is the recipe to use. Smothered in cheese and a delicious mustard and egg sauce, you can have your lunchtime snack whipped up in no time at all.
What you will need:
- For the crust
- 250g pastry, rolled and pre-baked
For the filling:
- 400g asparagus spears
- 200g cheese
- 2 Tbsp Dijon mustard
- 1 large egg
- 1 tsp black pepper
- 1 tsp salt (to taste)
- 1 Tbsp olive oil
How to prepare it
Blanch the asparagus in rapidly boiling water for 5 minutes and then drain and set to the side. Mix the mustard with the egg using a fork and then spoon it into the base of the pre-baked pie crust. Layer 150g cheese on top of the mustard then arrange the asparagus on top of the cheese. Brush the asparagus with some olive oil and sprinkle on the salt and pepper. Top with the remaining cheese. Bake at 200ºC for fifteen minutes or until golden brown.
Stores well in the fridge for a week and freezes very well too.