This weekend, I spotted some of the season’s first asparagus — delicately bundled up like a present and standing in a tray of water like a gorgeous green bouquet — and I just couldn’t resist. They’re so thin, I’ve been eating them raw simply drizzled with vinaigrette and salt. But they’re also amazing when paired with sweet onions and garbanzo beans, like in this spring salad, or baked up with tarragon in this tart, which are both tied as my most-requested asparagus recipes.
Asparagus Tart with Tarragon Recipe
Makes: 9 to 12 servings
1 sheet store-bought frozen puff pastry, thawed according to package directions
3 large egg yolks
1/3 cup half-and-half
3 ounces shredded aged Cheddar cheese (about 3/4 cup)
1 1/2 ounces shredded Parmesan cheese (about 1 cup)
1 tablespoon minced fresh tarragon
1 tablespoon unsalted butter
1 pound medium asparagus, trimmed and cut into 1-inch lengths
Heat oven to 400°F and arrange a rack in the middle. On a lightly floured surface, roll puff pastry to 12-by-12-inch square. Place on baking sheet and; leaving a 1-inch border, score with a sharp knife to demarcate a square. Using a fork, pierce dough all over within the inner border and brush the exterior border with 1 of the egg yolks. Bake until golden, about 10 to 15 minutes.
Meanwhile, combine remaining 2 egg yolks, half-and-half, cheeses, and herbs in a bowl, season with salt and freshly ground black pepper and mix to combine. Taste, adjust seasoning as needed, and set aside. Melt butter in a large frying pan over medium heat. When it foams, add the asparagus, season with salt and freshly ground black pepper, and cook until browned and just starting to soften, about 5 minutes. Remove from heat and set aside.
When crust is ready, remove from oven, and spread cheese mixture evenly within the crust border. Arrange asparagus on top and return to oven. Bake until custard is set and asparagus is knife tender, about 15 to 20 minutes. Cut into squares and serve.