This easy recipe for elegant goat cheese and asparagus tart is perfect as an appetizer, for brunch, or as a light lunch.
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The tangy goat cheese, enriched with eggs and flavored with shallots, thyme, and garlic, makes for a creamy, luscious bed for the fresh asparagus. A bit of lemon rind adds brightness and balances out all of the flavors.
And can we talk about the crust? If you’re short on time, you could use a store-bought pie crust. You will have to re-roll the crust for the rectangle tart pan. But why? If you are going to roll out crust anyway, try this crust recipe and make it from scratch. The food processor does most of the work.
This crust is so flaky and tender from the ice-cold butter and it cuts through the tang of the goat cheese. It’s also an interesting texture against the goat cheese and asparagus.
Be sure to add the vinegar to your dough. Trust me, you won’t taste it, but it will help to keep the dough tender as you roll it and prevents the dough from taking on a gray hue.
HOW TO PICK ASPARAGUS
Since the asparagus is the star of the show, how do you pick the perfect stalk?
- Look for bright green or purple-tipped spears with firm, straight stalks that do not bend. You don’t want limp asparagus.
- Avoid dull and/or wrinkled stalks. This means that the asparagus has some age and the taste will be off.
- The tips should be tightly closed – not starting to spread. They should not be soft or mushy.
- Avoid stalks that appear woody. The base should look moist. It should not look dried out or cracked.
- Pick the size and diameter based on the flavor you want. Thinner stems are more tender and sweet, while the thicker stems tend to be heartier and bolder in taste – ideal for roasting.
I like to use a 14-inch rectangle tart pan with a removable bottom. I think the fluted sides make for a pretty presentation and the removable bottom removes all of the stress of getting out that first piece. If you don’t have a tart pan with a removable bottom, any tart pan or even a pie plate will work. Give this easy recipe a try. I think you’ll make it again and again.Print
This tasty, elegant, and light dish is a lovely addition to a spring brunch, a satisfying lunch, or impressive first course.
For the crust:
- 1 ¼ cups flour
- ½ teaspoon salt
- ¼ teaspoon pepper
- 10 tablespoons unsalted butter, cut into very small cubes – about ½-inch
- ½ teaspoon white vinegar
- 5 tablespoons ice water
- Extra flour for dusting
For the filling:
- 6 ounces goat cheese, room temperature
- 2 eggs, lightly beaten
- 1 small shallot, very finely minced
- 1 garlic clove, grated or finely minced
- 1 tablespoon minced fresh thyme
- ¼ teaspoon grated lemon zest
- 30 spears of fresh asparagus, ends snapped
- 1 tablespoon olive oil
- Salt and pepper to taste
- Make the crust. In a food processor, pulse the flour, salt, and pepper to blend. Add in the cold butter cubes and pulse until the mixture resembles small peas.
- Drizzle in the water and vinegar. Pulse the mixture until it begins to form into large clumps.
- Turn the dough out onto a flour dusted surface. Work the dough into a ball, then shape into a rough rectangle.
- Using a floured rolling pin, roll the dough out into a 4×6-inch rectangle. Gently lift the dough and wrap in plastic wrap. Place in the refrigerator for one hour.
- Remove the dough from the refrigerator. With the floured rolling pin, roll the dough onto a 10×14-inch rectangle.
- Carefully lift the rectangle and slide it onto the top of the tart pan. Using your fingers, press securely into the tart pan and up the sides. Be sure to press tightly into all of the flutes and into the corners. Use a sharp knife to cut away any excess dough from the top of the tart. Place the tart pan into the refrigerator as you prepare the filling.
- Preheat the oven to 450 degrees.
- Make the filling. In a medium bowl, combine the goat cheese, eggs, shallots, garlic, thyme, and lemon zest. Use a fork or a whisk to incorporate the ingredients until smooth.
- Lay the asparagus spear on a large plate. Drizzle with olive oil and sprinkle with salt and pepper. Turn the spears with your hands to coat fully in the oil, salt and pepper.
- Remove the tart pan from the refrigerator. Spread the goat cheese mixture onto the bottom o the tart.
- Arrange the asparagus spears on top of the goat cheese in an attractive pattern. I like to lay them diagonally, trimming to fit the pan.
- Place the pan in the preheated oven. Bake for 10 minutes. Turn the pan and then lower the oven temperature to 400 degrees. Bake for another 10 minutes or until the edges of the crust are golden brown.
- Remove the pan from the oven and allow to cool for at least 10 minutes before cutting.
- To unmold, hold the sides of the tart pan and gently lift up as you push the bottom.
- Slide the tart onto a cutting board and slice. I like to make diagonal slices.
- Serve warm or at room temperature.
- Serving Size: Serves 8 as a first course or 4 as a lunch entree