The beginning of Spring can only mean one thing – speared mountains of crisp green asaparagus freshly pulled from the ground all lined up like little soldiers at the farmers market. They practically beg you to take them home and make something amazing out of them. I seriously can not walk past a good looking bunch of asparagus.
Especially so this past weekend when I visited the Veg Out St Kilda Markets for the first time and came across Bridge Farm organic asparagus. Eat me! it said…but it wasnt always this love affair. Just like my post here on brussel sprouts, asapargus was also a vegetable to be avoided at all costs at least until the age of 28. Thats when I rediscovered it and had my aparagus ephiphany.
Growing up, asparagus would land on my plate emerging from a can or glass jar – off green with a pickled kind of flavour and slighty mushy texture (*gag*) I really couldnt understand how anyone could enjoy it. Then one day a few years ago now, a vegetarian friend made a simple risotto for me, blanching fresh asparagus to place on top of the finished dish. I savoured that first nutty, crunchy bite and Ive never looked back!
My favourite way to eat asparagus these days is tossed with a little olive oil and seasoned with salt and pepper then quickly grilled on a hot pan. It brings out a wonderful nutty flavour to the asaparagus. However, I recently came across this lovely sweet and salty combination thanks to Joy the baker however, the balsamic reduction is my own invention.
This tart is super easy to make but looks a little bit special when serving friends for dinner. The nutty asaparagus combines with the sharp saltiness of the Gruyere and is rounded off by the sweet sticky balsamic dressing which is drizzled over the top. Be careful not to drown your tart in the sticky balsamic sauce as it will overpower the balance of the dish. Also go easy on the glasses of wine consumed while making this otherwise you’ll end up burning the first batch like I did! Serve as an entree or enjoy as the main event!
Happy Eating! xo
Roasted Asparagus, Balsamic & Gruyere Tart
- Frozen ready made puff pastry ( 1 large square = 4 small tarts)
- 1 bunch of fresh asparagus (trimmed to fit tart)
- Grated gruyere cheese ( to taste)
- Cracked pepper
Sticky Balsamic Reduction
- 1/4 cup brown sugar
- 1/2 cup balsamic vinegar
- 1/4 cup honey
- Make balsamic reduction first by combining sugar, balsamic and honey together over a low heat. Continue to stir regularly until the mixture turns into a dense syrup. This will take 10-15 minutes. You may also prefer to do this while the tart is baking. Set aside.
- Cut one large pastry square into four squares. Fold each side in to form a border. Beat an egg and brush over each square
- Sprinkle cheese over pastry square. Slice aparagus in half length ways from tip to base. Line asaparagus one by one beside each other across the tart. Place in oven at 200C for 15 minutes until golden brown. *NB each oven is different so keep an eye on yours as it may take a few minutes longer or less.
- Drizzle balsamic over tart and eat hot straight from the oven