I blame Delancey for planting the seed that sprouted this tart. On one of our regular visits, I ordered a dish consisting of asparagus that was perfectly charred in their wood-burning oven, walnut cream, and slender shavings of parmesan. It was a rare moment in which I was cursing the fact that my children eat their vegetables; I wanted them to leave their asparagus for me. Anyway, with the addition of a simply dressed salad, this tart makes for a perfect summer lunch.
- ½ batch store-bought puff pastry
- ¼ cup mascarpone
- ¼ cup heavy cream
- 1 large clove garlic, minced
- pinch pepper flakes
- 1 bunch asparagus (about 450 g)
- 1 tbsp olive oil
- ½ cup walnuts, toasted and roughly chopped
- shaved parmesan, to serve
Oven temperatures are for conventional; if using fan-forced (convection), reduce the temperature by 20˚C. | We use Australian tablespoons and cups: 1 teaspoon equals 5 ml; 1 tablespoon equals 20 ml; 1 cup equals 250 ml. | All herbs are fresh (unless specified) and cups are lightly packed. | All vegetables are medium size and peeled, unless specified. | All eggs are 55-60 g, unless specified.
Cooling time 10 minutes
Pre-heat your oven to 215°C. Line a baking tray with baking paper.
Roll the puff to a roughly 20 × 30 cm rectangle. Trim off the uneven edges. Carefully place the puff onto the baking sheet and chill in the refrigerator for about 15 minutes while you prepare the rest of the ingredients.
In a small bowl, combine the mascarpone, cream, garlic, pepper flakes, and a hefty pinch of salt and pepper.
Remove the woody part of the asparagus by taking one spear and carefully bending until it snaps. Using that spear as your guide, cut the remaining asparagus where your guide snapped. In a medium bowl, toss the asparagus with 1 tbsp of olive oil.
Remove your puff pastry from the fridge and top with the mascarpone mixture, leaving a 2.5 cm border around the entire tart. On top of the mascarpone, lay the asparagus, single file, one right next to the other. Sprinkle the top with fine sea salt and put in the oven. After the first 20 minutes of baking, reduce heat to 175°C and bake for a further 20-30 minutes or until cooked through.
Remove from the oven and let cool slightly. Just before serving top with toasted walnuts and shaved parmesan. Serve warm or at room temperature.
Recipe from Not Without Salt by Ashley Rodriguez, with photographs by Ashley Rodriguez.