Asparagus and Gruyere Tarts

Monday, October 6, 2014

I woke up freezing* and starving on Saturday morning, but with my eyes on the prize. I had decided to make these asparagus tarts earlier in the week and didn't want the pound of asparagus I had bought to go to waste. So I shivered out of bed (at 11am, mind you), crept into the kitchen and began trimming the asparagus. It's a shame I'm making six tarts for one person, I thought. What a waste. But because nothing goes to waste around here (and because these are delicious), I ate three (and could have eaten six, but froze the rest). Then I crawled back into bed because what else are you supposed to do when it goes from 70 to 35 degrees overnight? The perfect brunch for six. Or two. Or one, really. 

Quick note: Don't just get any cheese. Get Gruyere. It's sweet but slightly salty, the perfect choice for this simple, satisfying treat. Also, can I recommend balsamic reduction on top? I'm a sucker for sauces and condiments, so mine, as you can see, was doused (and thus not very photogenic, whoops!) — delicious. 

Ingredients (makes six small tarts): 
1 sheet frozen puff pastry, thawed but still cold
1 egg, beaten
1 1/2 cups grated Gruyere cheese
1 pound slender asparagus 
Salt and coarse ground black pepper 
Olive oil 
Balsamic reduction

Preheat oven to 400 degrees F. Line a baking sheet with parchment paper and set aside. 

Unfold thawed puff pastry onto a lightly floured work surface. Most commercially made puff pastry sheets are sold folded into thirds. Unfold the pastry and slice into thirds at the creases. Cut each strip in half, creating six equally sized rectangles.

Gently press each rectangle with your fingers, flattening slightly. With a small pairing knife, score a 1/4 inch boarder along the inside of each rectangle. Arrange 1 inch apart on the prepared baking sheet. 

Brush each square lightly with beaten egg. Sprinkle with salt and coarse ground black pepper. Top with a generous sprinkling of grated cheese. Press five to six asparagus spears into the cheese. Brush the asparagus with olive oil and sprinkle with more coarsely ground black pepper.

Bake for 20-25 minutes, until puff pastry is golden brown and asparagus is cooked through. Remove from the oven, allow to cool for 10 minutes before serving. Serve with thick balsamic reduction.

* Any down comforter recommendations that will defrost my blood but won't break the bank? Anything affordable seems too thin or reviews say it sheds feathers. Help! 

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